Laxman eager for his maiden ton at Wankhede

Laxman eager to set the record straight this week by notching up his first century at Wankhede Stadium

VVS Laxman, who has had a rather ordinary time at the Wankhede Stadium over the years, wants to set the record straight and score a century against the West Indies in the third Test starting today. Even the Aussies, with their inevitable knack of conceding big hundreds to his artistry, kept his expansive wrists on a leash during the two Tests they played here in 2001-02 and 2004-05.

Focused: VVS Laxman trains during a practice session on the eve of
the third Test against WI at the Wankhede Stadium. Pic/Suresh KK

Laxman has only 163 runs from four Tests in Mumbai -- a record that bothers him. "Wankhede is a special place... it's always been a special place for the team. It will be nice to get a hundred here. I've never got a hundred on this ground. It will be special for me," he said on the eve of the Test.

The veteran batsman said India were targeting their third series-whitewash in Test history. "We would like to win the series 3-0. That's our target. However, it's important to play to our potential and work really hard, especially after the way West Indies batted in the second innings at Kolkata (where they posted 463). It's important to go through the process all over again (for us)," he said.

When asked if dominating an experienced West Indies side at home was valid preparation ahead of next month's tour of Australia, Laxman said Darren Sammy's side deserved to be respected. "Everyone knows that Australia is going to be an important tour. But we are happy with the way we've played in the first two Tests (against West Indies). In Delhi, we were in a tough spot after the first two days, but bounced back and won. It's good that we are going to Australia with a very positive mindset; drawing confidence from this series will help.

Though the end result shows that we've won two-nil, West Indies are a very good side. Their bowling attack is one of the best in the world -- Edwards, Roach, Rampaul and Bishoo are all good bowlers. It's unfortunate that people are not rating this West Indies side.

I think they are very good," Laxman said. About the competition between three young batsmen -- Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma -- for the No 6 slot vacated by Yuvraj Singh, Laxman said: "All three are amazingly talented batsmen. They have already proved that in whatever opportunities (they have got) in one-day cricket. India is very lucky to have them. I am sure they have a great future ahead. They will become true match-winners for the country in the years to come."

Laxman said it was important for administrators to find a solution to the growing problem of Test matches being witnessed to empty stands. "It is the first time in my career when spectators aren't turning up, especially in Kolkata. We have to understand what is the reason, and find a suitable solution to ensure it doesn't happen again," he concluded.

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