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England needed magical powers to contain Indians: Hussain
PTI, PTI
Colombo, September 23, 2002
First Published: 19:12 IST(23/9/2002)
Last Updated: 19:12 IST(23/9/2002)

England captain Nasser Hussain said his bowlers perhaps needed "magical" powers to contain a rampant Indian side that mercilessly inflicted a comprehensive eight-wicket defeat on his team in the Champions Trophy on Sunday.

Once again singing paens of the strong Indian batting order, Hussain wondered whether even another hundred runs to his team's total of 269 would have been enough for Sourav Ganguly and his men.

"They were very aggressive with the new ball and the way they batted we probably needed a hundred more," Hussain said after India overhauled England's total with more than ten overs to spare.

"We came up against some brilliant batting. They are hitting most of the balls for four and six at the moment," he said.

"In these conditions, you have to have something magical up your sleeves. We tried to do that but still everything seemed to go for four," said the skipper who had earlier singled out India as the favourites to win the tournament.

Virender Sehwag and Ganguly blasted a century each, putting on 192 runs in less than 29 overs to reduce a keenly- awaited match into a virtual no-contest.

While India set up a semi-final clash with South Africa, England were dumped out of the Mini World Cup.

It was not only the Indian batting that impressed the India-born Hussain who spoke highly of left-arm seamers Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra too.

"I thought their new-ball bowlers were very aggressive and the first eight overs in particular were very tough for our batsmen," Hussain said.

Zaheer and Nehra bowled fiery opening spells giving away just seven runs in the first six overs while claiming the wickets of Marcus Trescothick and Nasser Hussain.

But Hussain was satisfied by the recovery made by his batsmen that saw the side reach a healthy total. "Our middle order was especially good. We did well to get up to 270 and Ian Blackwell played very well."

A triumphant Ganguly said India batted like champions and was pleased that everything went according to his plan. "We played like champions and (Virender) Sehwag really took the sting out of the England attack," said Ganguly who scored his 19th one-day century.

The plan, Ganguly said, was to not go for shots at the beginning but to hang on and give as much of the strike as possible to Sehwag.

Answering the inevitable question on how the win compared to India's memorable victory against the same rivals at Lord's in the NatWest tri-series final in July, Ganguly said: "Every win is satisfying, but the one at Lord's was more satisfying, as was the Test win at Headingley."

Ganguly recalled that India had beaten South Africa in the semi-final in the last ICC Trophy and hoped they could repeat it when the two sides met on Wednesday.

Ganguly was, however, not satisfied with the Indian bowling in the middle overs, and thought they had given away too many runs. "We got the first two wickets in 10 overs, but slipped a bit thereafter. The middle overs were not good, this is something we have to work on."

Man-of-the-match Sehwag was modest in his achievement and said the pitch was suitable for batting. "We knew they had good bowlers like Andrew Caddick and Matthew Hoggard, but if we played them well, we could easily win this match. The pitch was also suitable for batting," said Sehwag who blasted a 104- ball 126.

And not even the early 'life' he got when a diving Nick Knight failed to latch on to a snick wide of second slip in the third over of the innings made him cautious. Asked if he felt a bit under pressure after surviving that chance, he said: "No, I continued to play my natural game."

He said if the innings had to be propped up, one of them had to take charge of the scoring, and he did it according to plan. Once he reached 70, he was determined to make his hundred, as he did not want to leave any difficult task for the next batsmen by throwing his wicket away.

He did not believe, as he sometimes seems to give the impression, that his batting should be the same whether in Tests or in one-day matches. "I'm trying to change my game in the Tests," he said, referring to his dismissal through catches in the slip cordon. "I plan to change myself."


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