Thatscricket - News - India versus Sri Lanka: Youngsters failed to grab chances: Saurav

Published: Sunday, September 2, 2001, 0:00 [IST]
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Colombo: Indian cricket captain Saurav Ganguly on Sunday said inconsistency and the failure of the younger players to capitalise on the chances provided to them were the major reasons for India's lacklustre performance on the Sri Lankan tour."We were not very consistent on this trip," he said after India went down by an innings and 77 runs to lose its first Test series to Sri Lanka in 16 years.Refusing to attribute the loss to the absence of some of the key players, Ganguly said, "Injuries are bound to happen in cricket, especially because of the amount of cricket we play, but then it also gives opportunities for the young boys and others to come out with their best, which we haven't.""I do not want to give any excuses for the losses", he said. "This was a very good trip for the youngsters to learn what international cricket is all about but they didn't give their best but this is not the first time it has happened. We've done this (lose important games) before. I hope we learn from it and improve on it in the future," Ganguly said.Another reason for India's failure, Ganguly said, was the inability of the batsmen to put up big scores. "The Sri Lankan's converted their starts into hundreds, which we did not do in the series. We got too many 50s and 60s and 30s, which we need to convert if we have to win Test series," the captain, who himself had a none-too-impressive series, said. Nowhere was it evident more than in the third Test when as many as four Sri Lankan batsmen scored centuries in their first innings score of 610 for six declared whereas four Indians got out between 30 and 70 in the first innings and five in the second. "They simply batted us out of the game," Ganguly said.He felt his batsmen were over cautious against Muthiah Muralitharan, the eventual man-of-the-match, which had led to their downfall. "He (Muralitharan) took it away in the first innings," he said.The batsmen should have had a more positive and attacking approach against him, he said, adding that the key was to watch the ball till the very end. "I use my feet (against Muralitharan), but for right-handers, the options are limited.They should be very careful while driving him off the back foot," Ganguly said. To a question whether the Indians were not as fit as Sri Lankans, Ganguly said, "that is a difficult thing to say. They look a fit side but we play a lot of cricket, which results in a few injuries... They have got their cricket well spaced out.May be we've got see them when they play day in and day out as we do."A visibly gleeful Muthiah Muralitharan, who also walked away with the man-of-the-series award, said the inclusion of four fast bowlers eased him of tension and helped him concentrate better. "You cannot depend on only one bowler, because you need about two or three bowlers to win matches. The coach and selectors have done a good job, because getting four fast bowlers in the side helped me", he said. Indian coach John Wright said the team had shown character in bouncing back both in the Test series and the One-dayers but had faltered in final games. "They didn't play good cricket in this game. There were a few soft dismissals in the first innings and they didn't bowl well.""We have got to realise the value of getting a lot better on simple things like running between the wickets and saving singles while fielding," he said. Visibly annoyed with the three run-outs in the second innings, he said, "You are trying to save a Test, and you can't afford to have three run-outs. "If we are to be consistent, we've got to understand and accept that we have to be rock solid in a few departments like physical conditioning, running between the wickets and the ability to stop singles... The batsmen should go on and on...The bowlers' last spell on a day should be as quick as their first," the coach said. On his match winning 11-wicket haul in the third Test, Muralitharan said, "The first innings was the key, when there was little bounce in the wicket. The Indians played some bad shots and it helped me as well". Winning captain Sanath Jayasuriya said he was extremely happy to see his teammates enjoy the success of each other, which was "exactly what I wanted right throughout after I started my captaincy. We have a very good team spirit at the moment."Jayasuriya attributed the success to contributions from every member of the team and working to an exact plan. "The plan was to get India all out within 250. After a good start (by the Indians), Murali changed everything." PTI


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