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This win is right up there: Kumble

cricket Updated: Jan 20, 2008 01:24 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

The perfect 10, the 600 wickets and countless match-winning performances are among the many highs in Anil Kumble's international career that dates back to 1990. He has also been part of the team that started winning Test matches overseas from 2002 and tasted success in England, West Indies, Australia, Pakistan and South Africa.

Some of those victories led to series wins, some didn't and the one achieved on Saturday can at best help his team square the series. But according to the captain, this was the best that he has had.

"It's right at the top. It's not just overseas but when I look back at wherever I was involved in, both home and away, it's right up there. The most important thing after Sydney was to play good cricket. We wanted to show that the Indian team is a good Test unit. Even in Sydney, we put in a good effort but didn't get the result we wanted. Good to get it here."

According to Kumble, the break between the second and third Tests came as a boon as it helped soothe nerves and allowed a fresh look at the situation.

"Going to Canberra was probably a good thing for us. We were away from everybody and discussed how we would get forward, how to play as a team. That's when we decided to concentrate on cricket. I'm delighted that all the players came together. We needed to think positively and the kind of bonding we had was special."

The skipper said batting first and putting up a decent total proved to be the key. "We knew the importance of batting first and get something on the board. It helped us put pressure on Australia. We were not thinking about how to deny them a 17th (consecutive) win, our focus was on winning this game.

Now that we have done that, it's important to carry this momentum to the fourth Test. Though we came here to win the series, squaring it is all that we can do now. That will be the perfect end."

A graceful loser
Ricky Ponting acknowledged that India were decisively better. "We were outplayed in all departments for a better part of all four days. They put up a better first innings total, bowled well and caught most of almost everything that came their way."

The skipper thought the first-innings deficit made the difference in the end. "To be behind by about 120 runs did us in. It was always going to make a huge impact on what we were going to chase in the fourth innings. But we are going to train harder than the Indians before the Adelaide Test."

Ponting refused to accept that excessive talk about the 17th consecutive win took the focus away. "There was some talk about it, but our preparation for this Test was just like our preparation for any other Test. We always look to win, so it wasn't anything different here. We faltered at critical moments and like we do normally, we couldn't come back."

Commenting on Ishant Sharma and how he got him out in both innings, Ponting said, "His was a very good spell. He wasn't hostile but got the ball to dart back unlike other bowlers, who move it away. Maybe five more balls and I would have seen the end of him, but he got me at a pretty critical time. It was a big wicket for him."

Ponting added that a fit Matthew Hayden had been included in the XII for Adelaide in place of Chris Rogers, who made an unimpressive debut at his home ground.