Tour opener batting no cause for concern: Ganguly

Published: Monday, April 8, 2002, 18:50 [IST]
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Georgetown: India skipper Saurav Ganguly said on Monday he was not worried over his team's batting performance in its only warm-up match before the opening Test against the West Indies.

The tourists opened their tour with a nine-wicket win over a second-string Guyana Board President's team on Sunday, but failed to solve their batting problems. "Some of us played poor shots, but there's no need to worry," said Ganguly ahead of Thursday's opening Test against the West Indies at Bourda. India's renowned middle order, comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Venkat Sai Laxman, failed to click even against a weak opposition in a three-day game. Tendulkar contributed just 18 and Dravid two before falling to paceman Reon Griffith, while Laxman (43) could not capitalise on a good start. All-rounder Sanjay Bangar put the hosts' attack in perspective, staying at the crease for more than three hours to top-score with an unbeaten 76 in India's first-innings total of 248. "It's the first game of the tour. A couple of batsmen did make the most of the opportunity by spending time in the middle. I'm sure our batting will pick up as the tour progresses," said Ganguly, the second-highest scorer with 52. He said his bowlers performed better in the match by dismissing the hosts for 118 and 168. Leg spinner Anil Kumble was the leading wicket-taker with seven, followed by off spinner Harbhajan Singh (5) and pacemen Javagal Srinath (4) and Zaheer Khan (4). The Indian captain said he was confident his batsmen would be able to raise their performance in the Tests. "The better the attack, the more you concentrate," said Ganguly, whose team later lost a 21-overs-a-side festival match against the same opposition by 88 runs. The tourists, without five of their main players, crawled to 47 for no loss in reply to their opponents' 135 for five, much to the disappointment of nearly 500 spectators at the Everest ground. India coach John Wright defended his team's slow batting, saying playing a match was better than having nets. "We looked at it as a practice opportunity in a match-like situation. It was better than having nets and I won't blame the batsmen." Rahul Dravid and Wasim Jaffer each scored 22 not out in 21 overs. India plays five Tests and as many One-day Internationals in its two-month tour, seeking its first Test series win in the West Indies since 1971 when Ajit Wadekar's team clinched the five-match series 1-0.

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