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‘We did not play quality cricket’

cricket Updated: Aug 11, 2008 23:23 IST
Anand Vasu
Anand Vasu
Hindustan Times
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Anil Kumble did not shy away from admitting serious shortcomings, and conceded that the Indian team had been out-played by the Sri Lankans for the best part of the series, barring Galle where the visitors held their own.

“I guess the batsmen did not do well. And that cost us the series. The middle order not getting the runs proved critical,” said Kumble, while speaking of the job the two Sri Lankan spinners did.

“In terms of bowling, the effort of Ajantha Mendis was the difference. It was not easy to pick runs when Mendis and Murali were bowling together. The pressure they created made it tough.”

That said, Kumble said Mendis was by no means unplayable and India’s batsmen had not applied themselves as they should have. Having won the toss here it was important to get a big score. We did not capitalise on the good start we got,” said Kumble.

“To start against two spinners is not easy and it was important for batsmen who got a start to carry on. We are not offering excuses, overall we did not play good quality cricket.”

While the middle-order collectively failed to live up to it’s big billing, VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid managed to salvage some pride. Even there, though, Kumble did not single out Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly for criticism.

“It is not Sachin and Sourav alone, it is important for everyone to contribute. The middle and lower did not contribute and that let us down,” said Kumble. “I take full responsibility and we lost a good chance here after a good win in Galle.

“We can’t lose five wickets in the first 40 overs and that has happened a few times. It was a fantastic opportunity here to beat Lanka and we did not capitalise.”

Kumble also did not want to be drawn into undue controversy or indepth discussion on the umpire review system, saying only: “It is too early to say anything on the referral. A few things have to be assessed. Teething problems with technology will be there for sure,” he said.

“It is not 100 per cent and that’s for sure. We’ll have to see whether the ball tracking is 100 percent accurate and sit down and discuss these things.”