Zimbabwe in India, Feb-Mar 2002
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India won by 101 runs
India 333/6 (50 ov)
Zimbabwe 232 (42.1/48 ov)

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Bangar: I dedicate this hundred to my mother
Staff Reporter - 25 February 2002

Hard work and perseverance pays in any field. And cricket has been no different. Sanjay Bangar finally saw it pay off at the Vidarbha Cricket Association stadium at Nagpur on Sunday.

Talking to newsmen after the end of the day's play, the Railways' all- rounder appeared more than satisfied on reaching his first Test century against the visiting Zimbabweans. "It was a wonderful feeling. I dedicate this to my mother who is no more and my family members," said the 29-year-old cricketer from Beed, Maharashtra.

Having rung home after the delightful knock, Bangar poignantly recollected all the years of hard work, and the support from coach John Wright and skipper Sourav Ganguly that helped his cause. "I would like to thank the team management and my captain who have helped me reached my first Test hundred. I was in the nineties when the call for a declaration had arrived. Yet I was given the chance of going in for the much needed runs before the innings concluded."

It had been quite a struggle for Bangar after having failed to perform to his fullest potential in his first Test against the Englishmen at Mohali. Having finally made a return to the national side at the cost of the latest sensation Virendra Sehwag, Bangar did prove his worth to the five wise men who make up the BCCI Selection Committee.

A prolific run-getter that he has been in the domestic circuit in recent times, Bangar asserted that "the double century against Tamil Nadu (in the Ranji Trophy quarter-finals) did boost my confidence."

Bangar also said that he was not under any kind of pressure while playing with Sachin Tendulkar. Scoring at a faster clip than the master batsman, Bangar smashed 12 boundaries and two sixes on his way to his first Test hundred in just his second Test.

"Sachin helped me a lot with minute instructions - where to go for runs, how to be comfortable while at the crease, which bowler to go after and a few more," the modest cricketer said.

On whether he became nervous at any point of time in the nineties, he stated, "I just went for my shots, it was my day. There were instructions to collect as many runs as possible in the next twenty overs and that is exactly what I tried to do."

He accepted that he tried to protect his wicket on Saturday to start afresh on Sunday. "We were already five down and still needed to get some runs on the board," he explained.

As for the ground, Bangar felt that the VCA had always been lucky for him.

Asked if Sourav Ganguly had under-bowled him in the first innings, he shrugged away the suggestion, saying, "I cannot comment. It was the team management's decision."

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