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Windies can still defend title: Lara

india Updated: Oct 14, 2006 22:15 IST
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The West Indies were annihilated by Sri Lanka in the ICC Champions Trophy qualifier on Saturday. As a result, the defending champions will be grouped with world champions Australia, hosts India and England in the relatively tougher group. Yet, the West Indies skipper Brian Lara believes they have it in them to defend their title.

"Last time no one gave us any chance but we won the title," he told a post-match media conference. "I feel we have the guys and the ingredients to do so again despite what happened today."

Lara was positive that his players would learn their lessons from the humiliating loss as professional sportsmen do. "We have the opportunity (to learn lessons). If we apply ourselves professionally things will be better," he added.

Lara was looking forward to their three Group B matches in the next phase of the tournament. "We beat England when we won the tournament in 2004," he said. "And we have played frequently against Australia and India recently, so there will be memories of those matches when we play all three teams."

Lara admitted that it was "poor batting" and not a bad pitch that resulted in them posting such a low total.

"It was slow. It was not the best wicket, but neither was it so bad that we should have been all out for less than 100," he said. "We did not bat well. I don't want to single out any one batsman though."

Giving Sri Lankan bowlers their due, the master batsman admitted that the loss of Chris Gayle in the opening over put pressure on them.

"We lost a wicket in the first over and then kept losing them regularly which put us under pressure," he said. "They all bowled well and most of the batsmen were out bowled or leg before. It was a good effort by all the Lankan bowlers."

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