Port of Spain (Trinidad): Ruing the missed opportunities in the first cricket Test, captain Saurav Ganguly and coach John Wright urged their team to grab whatever chances came its way if it is to beat West Indies in the ongoing series.
"We had a chance to gain the upper hand when we reduced the West Indies to 44 for first on the first morning but couldn't capitalise on it," Ganguly said. "One more wicket at that stage would have put the Test in a different perspective," Ganguly said referring to the dropped chances of West Indian skipper Carl Hooper. "We dropped a crucial chance of Carl Hooper in the early part of his innings. On such flat pitches, if you let such chances go, it becomes very difficult," Ganguly said. Hooper was dropped first ball off an inside edge by wicket-keeper Deep Dasgupta off Javagal Srinath and again when a chance flew between Rahul Dravid and V V S Laxman at slips when the batsman was on 10.
"It was a costly miss which was kind of strange because both Dravid and Laxman are usually very safe catchers," said Wright referring to the second chance. "It is something we can't afford in the series." Hooper made the most of these chances and went on to score his career-best 233 which propelled West Indies to 501 in the first innings. Wright also made a pointed reference to Dasgupta and said the young Indian wicket- keeper would have to catch whatever comes his way. "He has to be reminded that in a close series, you just have to take every catch which is offered.
It is going to be a tight series and I think catching is going to be very, very important." Wright, however, softened the blow on Dasgupta suggesting the Bengal stumper had a far better game than he had against Zimbabwe in New Delhi last month. "But doing well behind the stumps is a priority," Wright emphasised. Both Ganguly and Wright were happy the team had gone through the first Test unscathed. "I think we had a big opportunity in the first session of the match. Psychologically, we didn't take it. But it is good the first Test is behind us.
We lost the first Test both in Sri Lanka and South Africa. But here we had a good workout which would stand us in good stead for the rest of the series," Wright said. Ganguly too said the proceedings of the Test were satisfying. "Considering it was the first Test of the series, which is always difficult because you are still trying to get used to the conditions, I think it was pretty satisfying." Wright said he was bothered by the fact that there was no support for Srinath, who bowled beautifully from one end.
"Srinath bowled so manfully throughout the Test but was not given much support from the other end. This is an area where we need to improve. If someone takes three wickets from one end, you would like someone to chip in from the other. "However, Sanjay Bangar did a very good job. It was very good for us. He has given us an option of five bowlers," Wright said. Wright said though a decision is still to be taken on the issue, Bangar had a good chance of opening the innings as did two other openers in the squad makeshift Deep Dasgupta and specialist Wasim Jaffer of Mumbai.
Ganguly said there were a lot of openings for places in the series in the Indian team but stopped short of elaborating. Ganguly said he was "sure the pitches in the remaining Tests of the series would not be as flat as Bourda Oval's was. Going by our experience last time, there would be something in the wicket for the bowlers". "If you see around the world, the Test pitches have generally something in them for the bowlers as well as batsmen," the skipper said. Wright said there was a very strong self-belief in his side about the coming Test matches.
"The belief within the team is very, very strong. It is early days yet but there is a good feeling among the boys for this trip."