India's bright start in the Asian Rugby Sevens Invitational tournament was halted by Sri Lanka when the hosts were beaten 34-19 in the semifinal here on Saturday. India had earlier won three matches on the trot, topping Pool A at the end of first day.
Having won their pool matches against Uzbekistan, Iran and Brunei on Friday, India thumped Pakistan 38-5 to get a winning start on the final day. But they couldn't take the same form in against the Lankans. Some basic errors by the India defence gave their opponents a chance to regroup and fight back after half-time.
"We gifted tries to them. They did not have to work hard for the points, we freely gave it to them. And those points cost us the game," India captain Nasser Hussain said after the match. Explaining how some silly mistakes had led to the loss, Hussain said, "We went for the win and weren't intimidated by the Lankans. No team that goes in with a negative attitude can be 12 points up during the match."
Hussain refused to blame the fitness of the players. "Fitness shouldn't be a question. We gave it our best." Malaysia beat Sri Lanka 38-5 in the final to win the tournament. In the third place play-off, India was beaten 33-7 by Kazakhstan.