Bowlers have to do the finishing act: Wright

Published: Friday, April 16, 2004, 1:37 [IST]
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Rawalpindi:With India sitting pretty on a huge 376-run lead, coach John Wright feels it is now up to the bowlers to finish the job and give their team a historic Test series triumph on Pakistan soil.

"We looked to consolidate our position today (Thursday)and we are quite comfortable with the position. The first session was particularly critical and our batters did the job. The bowlers will have to do the job now," Wright said in Rawalpindi after the third day's play.

Pakistan, who could manage just 224 in their first essay, still trail by 327 runs after being reduced to 49 for two in their second innings.

However, the coach conceded the job was far from over.

"There is still a lot of hard-work to be done. We managed to wickets today and the first hour tomorrow will be very important. We have to just concentrate and go hour by hour."

The coach heaped praise on vice-captain Rahul Dravid for his record-breaking career-best knock of 270 saying he laid the foundation of the innings by batting responsibly.

"He laid the foundation of our innings. It was a fantastic effort. He had three hundred partnership and almost got another one with Yuvraj," he said.

Asked to explain the rationale behind Parthiv Patel opening the innings, Wright said, "there has been a lot of discussion. Parthiv was quite happy to do the job, and that's a good thing. We got them (Pakistan) out rather quickly so it did not affect him much.

"The idea was to cause the least disruption to our batting order. So, Ganguly and Yuvraj batted more or less in their regular positions in the middle order. Parthiv did a great job and I have always believed that he has a bright future. It was a learning experience for him."

On whether the track at the Pindi Cricket Stadium would deteriorate on the fourth and fifth days, he said, "it is still a good batting wicket. Their spinner (Danish Kaneria) got more turn today, so will be happy if this trend continues".

Wright admitted that the progress of the bowlers had been "heartening".

"They bowled well in Australia despite not having much experience. They have been improving and that's a good sign. Let us see how they bowl tomorrow (Friday)."

On captain Sourav Ganguly's run out, Wright said, "he will now realise the importance of grounding the bat even more. I am sure he must be regretting as he was set for a century. He will learn from his mistake."

Ganguly, who made 77, was out in a bizarre fashion, ducking to a throw from substitute Imran Nazir from the point region and failing to ground the bat.

Wright credited the increased fitness level of the players ever since he took over as the coach to their hard work and the effort put in by physio Andrew Leipus and trainer Gregory Allen King.

"I am certainly not responsible. The players have worked very hard and that is paying dividends now. Rahul is a very conscientious cricketer and works very hard to improve his fitness.

"Leipus and King have done a good job and the players have responded well. It is a team effort, we try to support the players as much as possible. But all the credit should go to the players as they are the ones who go and play in the middle."

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