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Advantage rests with us: Kumble

Anil Kumble hopes for a better wicket in the 2nd India- S Africa Test in Ahmedabad, reports A Karhadkar.

cricket Updated: Mar 31, 2008 02:00 IST
Amol Karhadkar

Skipper Anil Kumble is hoping for a better wicket going into the second Test in Ahmedabad.

"On hindsight, I would have played (Virender) Sehwag and Rahul (Dravid) and had seven bowlers," Kumble said, replying to a question whether he required five specialist bowlers on the flat M.A. Chidambaram Stadium track.

"That is something we can think of, but at the end of the day if there is something for the bowlers, the four bowlers would have certainly taken advantage."

Has Kumble passed on any instructions to the curator in Ahmedabad, where the next Test will be played from Thursday?

"My only message for the team is to win, which I don't give to the groundsman," said Kumble. "Whatever he prepares, we go and play on. I am hopeful it will be an even contest between bat and ball."

Even South Africa skipper Graeme Smith was hoping for a "balanced" contest.

"You've got to give credit to the batsmen. They made it count," Smith said. "Obviously, you would love a wicket that allows a little bit more for the bowlers. It will be interesting to get to Ahmedabad and see what the pitch looks like. We're hoping for a pitch that can provide a good balance between bat and ball."

Despite India conceding 540 runs in the first innings and then faltering with the bat on the fourth day notwithstanding Sehwag's whirlwind 319 and Dravid's sedate 111, Kumble said India would have the advantage going into the second Test.

"We still take advantage," Kumble said. "The toss was crucial. Probably, if we had bowled second, things would have been slightly different."

Injury concern

Once it was clear that the match was heading for a draw, Kumble and Sachin Tendulkar opted not to take field for a better part of the day's play. And Kumble admitted both were carrying minor niggles. “I had a slight niggle while I was bowling," he said. "I didn't want to take a chance. The match was probably over by then. It was important for me to ensure that I recover well for the next Test.”

However, Kumble said Ishant Sharma, who was ruled out of the first Test due "fitness concerns", was "progressing well".

Kirsten's first

India's new coach described Sehwag's knock as "the best I have witnessed at a ground without question".

"We are looking to improve . It is the mindset and attitude from international cricketers that we know can field on the ground.