Dravid blames batsmen for defeat
Skipper Rahul Dravid blamed India's batsmen for throwing away a good chance of victory in the Indian Oil Cup cricket tri-series final by leaving too much to be done by the lower order. "At one point, with eight wickets in hand and 100 runs to get, we had a good chance," Dravid said after India lost the match to Sri Lanka by 18 runs. "But in the end, we probably left a bit too much to do for our lower order," he lamented.
He praised the 125-run partnership between Russel Arnold and Mahela Jayawardene, which was the highest total of the tournament. "But we fought back hard in the last 10 overs and Ashish (Nehra) put his hand up and bowled beautifully," he said. Dravid acknowledged that the conditions were not bowler friendly, which made the other bowlers struggle, lowering their performance. But he also added that, "they (Sri Lankans) have quality bowlers and it was not easy to get big runs off them in the last overs."
While chasing, Dravid conceded that the team did not make the most of the flying start that was provided by Virender Sehwag. On the other side rival captain Marvan Atapattu attributed their victory to "team effort" and the result of sticking to a set plan. "After the initial onslaught by Sehwag, we came back and held our nerve in the pressure moments," he continued that "the wicket was good and there was not much turn, but the bowlers maintained a good line and kept the pressure on."
Mahela Jayawardene, who became both Man of the Match and Man of the series, said he had come of age in the tri-series as a result of added responsibility. "Me and Russel (Arnold) planned to see the spinners off and bat throught to the 40th over. Fortunately, we had other batters who kept the run rate up," he said.