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Final will be a different game: Ganguly

After the humbling defeat at the hands of Australia, Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly put up a brave front and said Sunday's result would not affect his team's chances in the tri-series final.

india Updated: Feb 01, 2004 16:31 IST

After the humbling defeat at the hands of the World Champions, Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly put up a brave front and said Sunday's result would not affect his team's chances in the tri-series final.

"The final is going to be a different ball game. Melbourne and Sydney are going to be more suited to our cricket and we are looking forward to it," Ganguly said after the five-wicket loss to the hosts at the WACA ground here.

Electing to bat on a pitch with steep bounce, India were all out for a modest 203 before man-of-the-match Adam Gilchrist, standing in for a rested Ricky Ponting, led the three-time World Champions to a comfortable win with 18 overs to spare.

Australia gained full points from the match to improve their tally to 37 points while India remained on 23.

Both the teams had already qualified for the best-of-three finals with one match between India and Zimbabwe, the third team, remaining in the league stage.

Ganguly said playing in Perth, a pitch with more bounce and pace than any other strip in Australia, posed a considerable challenge to his batsmen.

"It was a hard task and any team from the subcontinent would find it difficult to adjust to the pace and bounce of the WACA," he said.

"It is the fag end of the tour and we did not play on a similar pitch before. Our batsmen tried to adjust but we lost early wickets."

Asked whether he would have opted to bowl upon winning the toss, Ganguly's reply was cryptic: "When I walked to the pitch I wanted to field, but then we batted."

"Had we put enough runs on the board, it would have been a different ball game," he said.

Gilchrist, though, was a happy man. Not only because he bagged the man-of-the-match award but also because he kept his undefeated record as captain.

The Western Australian, returning fresh after a week long break, said he was happy with his team's performance in what he termed "traditional Australian conditions".

"It was our bowlers who opened up the game for us today. This is a traditional Australian pitch with lot of bounce, something that we had not seen much this summer.

"You can see that the WACA is getting back to its old characteristics. In this match and even in the previous first-class game here, there were lot of caught behind decisions," the Australian stand-in captain said.

Gilchrist, while admitting that contest between the hosts and the Indians had been balanced throughout the series, said his bowlers might have found a way to rein in the strong Indian batting line-up.

"We are 3-1 against India in the league stage but in the final the team that gains the early initiative will have the opportunity to run away with the title.

"This Indian team had created a lot of headache for us throughout the summer. But as we showed today, if we can put the pressure on the top order by putting the ball in the right areas, we may have the advantage."

First Published: Feb 01, 2004 16:29 IST