Ganguly looking at positives in defeat | india | Hindustan Times
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Ganguly looking at positives in defeat

"It was still a batsman friendly wicket. The series is balanced and we're looking forward to Sydney," Indian captain Sourav Ganguly said.

india Updated: Dec 30, 2003 22:48 IST

Indian captain Sourav Ganguly on Tuesday blamed the first innings batting debacle for the nine-wicket defeat to Australia but said a lot of positives could be drawn by his side which he rated as the best he has played with abroad.

Ganguly said many of the batsmen got off to a good start but failed to capitalise and also urged his tailenders to show more courage.

"We were in a good position but did not capitalise. That is where we lost the game a bit," said Ganguly after Australia levelled the series 1-1 by scoring the required 95 runs comfortably.

"Our tail did not wag and a lot of our batsmen did not convert a good start into big innings," he said.

The Indians suffered reverses in both innings of the match after lower order collapses with the last six wickets falling for 16 and 33 runs in the two knocks.

Also, quite a few batsmen, including Aakash Chopra, Rahul Dravid and Ganguly in the first innings and Sachin Tendulkar in the second, wasted good starts.

Despite the defeat, Ganguly was looking at a lot of positives for this Indian side which he rated as the best he has ever played with abroad.

"I thought we played well in England but compared to them Australia is a tougher side. Yes, this has been a very good tour for us."

"We have tried to match them in every department. We have batted well. That has made the difference.
In 1999 we did not put runs on the board. On this tour a lot of our batsmen have got big scores," Ganguly said.

"Once you have runs on the board you can attack. Big scores have helped me put key men in right areas."

The Indian skipper also called upon his lower order batsmen to show courage in standing up to the Australian fast bowlers.

"They have to show courage. If they cannot occupy the crease they must at least try and get some quick runs on the board. We have to find a way to see how they could be more effective."

Ganguly also bemoaned the loss of bowling spearhead Zaheer Khan on the second day of the Test and said it left him with only three bowlers.

"Still a target of 225 on the last day at MCG would have been good. That would have been a fair target. But we did not put runs in the first innings and that is where you tend to lose Test matches."

While India faltered, Australia made a total in excess of 500 and Ganguly said the first three Australian batsmen -- Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting -- were proving to be difficult customers for India.

"The first three are scoring lot of runs. If we can get them early, there would be pressure on the guys coming in the middle. Hayden and Ponting are the key guys.

"In this match, Steve's partnership with Ponting was significant. It made the difference," said Ganguly.

The Indian captain reminded his teammates that although the conditions in Sydney might suit them, they would still have to fight hard to press for a series-deciding win.

"I hope Sydney suits us. But then just favourable conditions will not help our side to win. We won in India but had to fight hard in conditions that suited us."