'Our 'mix and match' strategy in bowling worked'

Published: Monday, October 27, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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Gwalior: Part-time off spinner Virender Sehwag's double strike in four balls set up India's 37-run victory against World Champion Australia, captain Rahul Dravid said. "Sehwag's two wickets brought the match within our reach," Dravid said after India's 37-run victory in the day-night Limited Overs cricket match of the TVS Cup triangular series in Gwalior on October 26. Chasing a target of 284, Australia were cruising at 132 for no loss at one stage. First, leg spinner Anil Kumble removed Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting in the space of three runs.

But the crucial blow came from Sehwag who broke through the defences of Damien Martyn and Michael Bevan with his fastish off-spin in the same over, from which Australia failed to recover. Dravid said it was the 'mix and match' strategy in bowling which worked in the team's favour. "The wicket had become slow and low as the game progressed and we needed to mix and match for maximum advantage from the pitch," said Dravid. Dravid, however, denied that the depleted bowling of the visitors made things easy for the Indian team. "Australian team has been winning even without some of their top players. Even during the World Cup they were missing two or three key players, the result was there for every body to see." "We cannot take them lightly, it was very important to start on a winning note and I am very glad that we won today but we will have to keep the momentum going in other matches."

Rival skipper Ricky Ponting felt losing four quick wickets was the turning point of the game. Ponting said while he was satisfied with the bowling, he was very disappointed with his batsmen. "I think the bowlers did fairly well, they conceded about 20 extra runs in the last few overs, otherwise they did well. "But I am very disappointed with the batsmen," said Ponting who himself was out cheaply for a meagre two runs. Ponting said the players were not too bothered with the problem with the sight- screen which saw Matthew Hayden lose his cool and throw his bat in disgust. "Sight screen is always a problem but it did not bother us much. We are used to all this in this part of the world."

Man of the Match Sachin Tendulkar, who brought up his seventh century in One-day internationals against Australia, said he did not have any secret formula for scoring runs against the world champions. "Australia is a top side, I don't know ... I just go out and play my natural game." Tendulkar did not think that the Indian victory today was a revenge for the World Cup final defeat. "We have left the World Cup behind us, it is a fresh series. We cannot go on cribbing about the past," he said. Tendulkar also praised V V S Laxman who made stroke-filled 102 and added 190 runs for the second wicket. "Laxman batted very well, in fact he has been in remarkable form right from the start of the season."

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