'Poor bowling and fielding cost us dearly'

Published: Tuesday, December 23, 2003, 20:31 [IST]
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Kolkata: India 'A' skipper Hemang Badani blamed the poor show by his bowlers and lackluster fielding for the seven-wicket defeat to Sri Lanka 'A' in the opening match of the Kenstar Asian 'A' Teams' tournament.

"I thought 300 was quite a good target for us to defend. But our bowling, catching and fielding were very poor. Honestly it was a bad day on the field," Badani said.

"Nobody bowled the right line. Since all the seamers - (Sanjay) Bangar, (Amit) Bhandari and Munaf (Patel) were hit for runs, I had to depend on the spinners," the skipper said.

While he was satisfied with the performance of opener Gautam Gambhir and Mohammad Kaif, Badani was unhappy about the collapse in the middle order.

"I am happy at the way Gautam and Kaif batted. But we lost wickets in a hurry thereafter. Otherwise we could have added 15-20 runs more to the innings," Badani said but admitted that those extra runs would have had a marginal impact on the game.

"After all, 300 is a score you don't get everyday. It was a good target".

Sri Lankan captain Russell Arnold, who top scored for the visitors with an unbeaten 96, agreed that India had put up a big target for them and expressed satisfaction at the way his side staged a comeback to win the match.

"At the beginning it seemed to be difficult. We thought 300 is a big target. But we played positive cricket and it was nice that we reached the target," he said.

The performance of the willowers was particularly encouraging, Arnold said. "This win will give us confidence for the next matches".

Sri Lanka will take on Pakistan on Tuesday before facing India in the return leg match on December 26.

The skipper felt his side still had "a lot of areas to improve upon.

"We had a poor start to the match conceding 300 runs. At one time I thought we will concede 350 or so given the condition of the pitch and the way the Indians were batting. But then we did well to restrict them at 300 and staged a comeback into the game".

Arnold praised Nuwan Zoysa, "After the first spell, he bowled well. He is the most experienced bowler in my side and I have to look up to him to deliver".

Both the skippers agreed that the Eden Gardens wicket was good for One-day cricket. "People love to see runs in one-dayers," Badani said.

Asked about the injury of Mithun Manhas, who suffered a crack in his left index finger and was subsequently replaced by S Sriram, he said, "I feel sad that he has to leave the side like that. But these things happen. We have to see how to cope with that".

Arnold leads from the front in Lankan win

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