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Published: Thursday, June 14, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
New Delhi: Former Indian cricket captains heaped praise Saurav Ganguly and his team on Sunday for pulling off a seven-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the second Test at Kandy.[an error occurred while processing this directive]Skipper Ganguly led from the front on Saturday with an unbeaten 98 to help India avenge their 10-wicket defeat in the first Test at Galle. The third and final Test begins in Colombo on Wednesday."Ganguly had come under a lot of flak in recent times, but he came good when it mattered," Indian cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar told website www.cricketnext.com in Bombay. "And that is a sign of a tough character."The Indian captain was under pressure to deliver, having failed to score a half-century in his last 13 Test innings. His match-winning unbeaten knock came at the right time, saving both his captaincy and place in the team."It is a tremendous achievement, considering the fact that India had lost the first Test convincingly by ten wickets. To come back and win a Test after that is indeed a remarkable turnaround," Gavaskar said.Ganguly is only the third Indian captain to have won three away Tests after Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi and Bishan Singh Bedi. His other Test victories came against Bangladesh at Dhaka last year and Zimbabwe at Bulawayo in June."The two senior players, Ganguly and Dravid, rose to the occasion in this Test," former skipper Dilip Vengsarkar told the website."The Indians played to their potential. We should have been so positive from the first Test itself, but better late than never," he said. Vengsarkar said vice-captain Dravid, who scored a solid 75, also played a crucial role in India's victory."He played a tremendous innings. It was he who attacked Muralitharan and really blunted him. He laid the foundation of the Indian victory," he said.G.S. Ramchand, who led India in five Tests in 1959-60, said the positive attitude was the key to India's success."It was heartening to see Ganguly and Dravid contributing the most. It was especially good for Ganguly as he was not in the best of form," he told the website.Former Sri Lankan middle-order batsman Aravinda de Silva also lauded the Indians' achievement, saying the sheer determination of Ganguly and Dravid paved the way for a well-deserving win."The innings by Dravid and Ganguly were lessons for any batsman in the world to learn from as the duo understood how important it was for them to build a match-winning partnership," he wrote in his column in The Indian Express."The way they handled the pressure was also a good example for any batsman of how to rediscover form," he said.Indian officials also congratulated Ganguly and his team on their win."It was an excellent and wonderful performance by the Indian team, especially Ganguly and Dravid," chairman of selectors Chandu Borde said."I am so happy for Saurav," former International Cricket Council chief Jagmohan Dalmiya said."Everyone was gunning for him, but Ganguly has shown that he is a tough person. He has turned things around in a magnificent way. This will give him more confidence going into the third Test," he said.