Defeated Indians come under media flak

Published: Monday, September 3, 2001, 21:49 [IST]
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New Delhi: The Indian media on Monday lashed out at Saurav Ganguly's cricket team for losing the third and decisive Test against Sri Lanka by an innings and 77 runs in Colombo. "India slides to disgraceful defeat," screamed 'The Hindu' following India's first defeat by an innings in 23 Tests against Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka's 2-1 victory in the three-Test series was its first against India since 1985-86 and Ganguly's first series defeat as captain after winning against Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Australia and then drawing against Zimbabwe. The hosts had won the opening Test by 10 wickets at Galle, but lost the second by seven wickets at Kandy before wrapping up the series at Colombo on Sunday. "It is time to grapple with the harsh reality. And the truth is, despite the hype, there is not too much depth in the Indian cricket scene," 'The Hindu' said. "Put them in a pressure-cooker situation of a Test match, and they would come apart like a pack of cards. "One witnessed this at the Sinhalese Sports Club ground. A disgraceful surrender on a flat wicket with the (Indian) side not even crossing the 300-mark in either innings. And on a pitch where four Sri Lankan batsmen made centuries, Shiv Sunder Das' 68 in the second innings was the highest by an Indian. Just where are the real heroes?" the paper asked. Ace Indian leg spinner Anil Kumble, recuperating from a shoulder injury, said in his column in 'The Times of India, that the Indian batting and bowling had left a lot to be desired. "Sri Lankan batsmen won 7-0," the paper said, referring to the seven centuries scored by Sri Lankan batsmen in the series against none by the Indians. One glaring aspect was that none of our batsmen scored 100 in the series, while the Sri Lankans hit seven," Kumble wrote. Mahela Jayawardene slammed two centuries, while skipper Sanath Jayasuriya, wicket- keeper-batsman Kumara Sangakkara, opener Marvan Atapattu, Hashan Tillekeratne and debutant Thilan Samaraweera scored one each. "Sri Lankan batsmen scored runs at a brisk pace, thereby giving their bowlers enough time to have a go at the Indian batsmen. Our bowlers never threatened to put pressure on the batsmen and on-the-field opportunities went abegging. It became all the more difficult for our bowlers to pick wickets," Kumble said. He was all praise for off spinner Muthiah Muralitharan, whose 23 wickets in three Tests was a Sri Lankan record against India. "Murali showed his class to reap his highest haul against India in a Test series in his career," Kumble said. The Sri Lankan spinner was adjudged both man-of-the-match and man-of- the-series for his remarkable performance. 'The Hindustan Times' said batting was the main reason for India's defeat. "The series was as good as over when India scored only 234 and batted less than a day in its first innings. The batting has been a disaster throughout the Test series," the paper said.

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