Dravid blames pitch for his sides~~ failure

Published: Saturday, July 1, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Kingston, Jamaica:West Indies had the honours on day one of Kingston Test bowling out India for 200 in first innings.

While Indian captain Rahul Dravid blamed the pitch for much of Indian failure, West Indies skipper Brian Lara feels the pitch is a 'batting feast' after first 15-20 overs are bowled.

''It's a very challenging wicket. Ball is not coming on nicely and it was very difficult to play strokes on it,'' said Rahul Dravid.

Dravid also said that he rated his 81 up there among his best knocks. ''This was one of more challenging innings. It is very satisfying as well nice to score runs in such tough conditions,'' said Dravid.

West Indies skipper Brian Lara had a totally different reading of the situation. He thought the pitch was not too bad to bat on.

''I would say it was a great effort, Herculean effort on such a pitch from our bowlers to get them out for 200. This is a pitch where you see off the new ball and the first 15-20 overs and then it is a batting feast,'' said Lara about the pitch.

Lara said Dravid played a crucial knock but it in fact helped his team's cause. ''We all know what he is capable of. He was keeping the run rate where we wanted. Of course we wanted his wicket. But he allowed to slow down the run rate and the things panned out the way we wanted,'' said Lara.

Dravid feels his team has a fighting chance and it is very important to bowl good in the first innings. ''We are not happy with the score but it is a score to fight with. If we restrict West Indies to a small lead, we have advantage of batting third and then put them under pressure in the last innings,'' said Dravid.

Dravid also said that Anil Kumble's fighting knock of 45 showed some of his batsmen how to bat in the longer version of game. ''Anil is always fighting. It sets great example and shows lots of people in the dressing room what batting in test cricket is all about,'' said Dravid.

Dravid defended his decision of going with 2 spinners and 2 pacers and bating first after winning toss.

''Pitch is dry and might help the spinners. We pick the team that gives us best chance of getting result. Batting first was a correct decision. There was some juice but you would like the juice to dry out. It's a slow wicket where spinners would come into play. Ball is keeping up and low. We have got two quality spinners, we have to rotate them around,'' said Dravid.

Lara said that his tam was in excellent position to win this match and the series now.

''We want to bat as long as possible maybe two days of batting we aim at. We have set the game way we wanted. Now we want to bat first bat all of today and tomorrow to be in strong position,'' said Lara.

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