Bangalore:Former India captain Sourav Ganguly doesn't rate his maiden double century as his best, but says it is important in the context of the India-Pakistan cricket series.
"It was not my best innings. But surely it was an important innings in the context of the series. In my career, I have always stood up when required. India-Pakistan series is always different and it is satisfying that I had my first double hundred," Ganguly told Neo Sports after scoring 239 on the second day of the third and final Test at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Banglaore.
Ganguly carried on serenely from his overnight score of 125, and his 200 came off 324 balls. It was the 99th Test match for the 35-year-old left-hander.
"I wanted to play my game. I had decided on shot selection and went about it my way."
Ganguly also justified his captain Anil Kumble's decision to bat first. "It was good that we won the toss and elected to bat. The pitch is keeping low and it will get worse from hereon."
Ganguly's double hundred has come at a time, when he is in the twilight of his career, that too in the year he is making a comeback.
He said he was now able to concentrate on his batting because he was no longer the captain. "For 11 years I have gone through the grind of grounds, airports, hotels and after all that the eight-month break from international cricket helped me to work on my batting.
"The break didn't help me much as a player but it obviously strengthened me mentally and focus on the game."
"I have no pressure on me, now that I am no longer the captain, and I can concentrate on my game," he said.
239 is highest by left-handed batsman
Sourav Ganguly's flamboyant 239 is the highest score by an Indian left-handed batsman.
He is the second Indian left-hander after Vinod Kambli to register a double hundred in Test cricket.
Other statistical highlights of the day are as follows:
# India (626) recorded the highest ever total at Chinnaswamy Stadium, obliterating Pakistan's 570 against India in March 2005.
# India's previous highest at this venue was 541 for six wickets declared against Sri Lanka in 1993-94.
# India's previous best against Pakistan at this venue was 449 in March 2005.
# Ganguly (239 off 361 balls) posted his career-best score in Tests - his first ever double century, obliterating his 173 off 361 balls against Sri Lanka at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai in 1997-98.
# Ganguly is now the seventh left-hander to post an innings of 200-plus against Pakistan, joining Garry Sobers (WI), Mark Taylor (A), Graham Yallop (A), Sanath Jayasuriya (SL), Kumar Sangakkara (SL) and Brian Lara (WI). Sobers (365 not out) and Taylor (334 not out) are the only ones to record triple hundreds against Pakistan.
# On Indian soil, Ganguly's innings is the second best score, next only to Clive Lloyd's 242 not out for West Indies against India at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai in 1974-75.
# Ganguly's aggregate of 443 (ave.88.60) in five innings is the best in the series so far, bettering Wasim Jaffer's run-agregate of 360.
# Ganguly registered his career best performance in a series in terms of run-aggregate, bettering his tally of 392 in four innings at an average of 98.00, including two centuries against Sri Lanka in 1997-98.
# Ganguly is now the third batsman to register a double hundred at Chinnaswamy Stadium, joining Pakistan's Younis Khan (267 in 2004-05) and India's Virender Sehwag (201 against Pakistan in 2004-05).
# Irfan Pathan (102) registered his career-best score, his maiden Test century, bettering his 93 as an opener against Sri Lanka at Feroz Shah Kotla in December 2005.
# Pathan's hundred is the 800th hundred by left-handers in Test cricket.
# Pathan is now the seventh No.8 batsman for India to have recorded a hundred in Test Cricket, joining Deepak Shodhan, Kapil Dev (twice), Syed Kirmani, Ajay Ratra, Ajit Agarkar and Anil Kumble.
# He is also the seventh Indian batsman to register a hundred with a six, joining Polly Umrigar, Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, Mohammad Azharuddin, Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag.
# Ganguly (239), Yuvraj (169) and Irfan Pathan (102) have provided the first ever instance of three left-handers posting hundreds in the same innings for India. Sadagoppan Ramesh(110) and Ganguly (125) had registered hundreds in India's 583 for 7 wickets declared at Ahmedsabad in 1999-00.
# Overall, the aforesaid instance is the third ever in Test annals. Justin Langer (104), Matthew Hayden (136) and Adam Gilchrist (118) with hundreds against New Zealand at Brisbane in 2001-02 had provided the first ever instance, followed by Marcus Trescothick (132), Andrew Strauss (136) and Graham Thorpe (118 not out) against South Africa at Durban in 2004-05.
# The 178-run partnership between Ganguly and Pathan is India's best for the seventh wicket against Pakistan, obliterating the 155 between Madan Lal and Roger Binny at Bangalore in 1983-84.
# Yasir Arafat became the fifth Pakistani bowler to claim five wickets in debut innings, joining Mohammad Nazir (7/99 vs. New Zealand at Karachi in 1969-70), Arif Butt (6/89 vs. Australia at Melbourne in 1964-65), Shahid Afridi (5/52 vs. Australia at Karachi in 1998-99) and Shahid Nazir (5/53 vs. Zimbabwe at Sheikhupura in 1996-97).