Johannesburg: Indian captain Saurav Ganguly would have none of the praise lavished upon him or his brilliant hundred against South Africa at Wanderers on Friday night since at the end of the day his team lost the match by six-wickets for which he held his seam bowlers responsible.
"I am very, very disappointed - my individual landmarks count for nothing if the team can't win," said a dejected Ganguly. "We bowled very poorly. If we continue to bowl like this, we are asking for trouble. It sounds rude but that's the fact," said Ganguly. Indian medium pacers Javagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad were too off-target on Friday and allowed South Africa to race to its first 100 without loss in less than 15 overs. "We bowled too short. We didn't vary the pace. On such helpful wickets (for batting), something extra is required to do well," said Ganguly. The skipper maintained it wasn't the kind of wicket to play his off spinner Harbhajan Singh. "Spinners would not get much help on these wickets. If you want to win, your seamers have got to do the job. They have to learn to bowl on good wickets." Ganguly said he too would have opted to field first in view of the dew, which is present at the ground under lights. "But there was no dew in the evening - which makes the bowlers' failure all the more painful." Coach John Wright said on wicket like the one used on Friday, the initial overs are crucial. "With a total like 280 there is always going to be a pressure on the chasing side but they got over it within the first 15 overs itself. "With 280 in the kitty, you want the opposition to struggle in the first 15 overs and pick up a couple of wickets. We didn't do that at all on Friday." Ganguly said he felt no pain in his right index finger, which was injured in the tour opener against NFO XI at Randjestfontein on Monday. "When you go into the centre, you tend to forget such things. I felt a bit of jerk initially but when it warmed up, it was okay. It's a question of mind over matter." Looking at the positives, Wright said "When your two key players are straightaway in form, it is a good news. It is a great way to start the tour". Ganguly reserved a word of praise for his partner Sachin Tendulkar. "He looked in terrific form - for someone who is coming after a lay-off of three months. He also bowled very well in his first eight overs for 32. South African captain Shaun Pollock confessed he had probably read the wicket wrong in the afternoon. "I thought it would help the pace and had included five seamers in the side. But I got it wrong. "It was probably a 300-run wicket but our bowlers did a good job in restricting India to 280. I don't think we bowled badly, the wicket was flat, but I wasn't happy with my fielding. We didn't grab half chances, there were three or four catches which could have been taken." However, man-of-the-match Gary Kirsten came out in defence of the Indian medium- pacers. "It was a tough (pitch) for the seamers. The ball was coming on to the bat beautifully - you just had to punch it. "As for Anil Kumble, he is a proven match winner for India and he would get some wickets here even though conditions here don't suit him as much as they do in India." Extras:
Kirsten takes South Africa to victory