Ganguly's batsmen out on a mission
Ganguly turned on the heat on the world champions saying his batsmen were on a mission to maintain their Test reputation in ODIs as well.Updated: Jan 19, 2004 11:53 IST
After taming the Australians in their own den after 12 years, Indian cricket captain Sourav Gangulyon Sundayturned on the heat on the world champions saying his batsmen were on a mission to maintain their Test reputation in one-dayers as well.
Ganguly said his batsmen had performed well in the recent Test series against the hosts and all the good work would "go in vain" if they did not sustain their form in the shorter version of the game.
"They have done well in Tests. And if they do not do it in the one-dayers all the hard work would go in vain," the Indian captain said after his team pulled off a thrilling 19-run victory against Australia in a VB series match here.
"It is the quality of batting and they have a repuatation to maintain," Ganguly said referring to his top order batsmen who appear to be feasting on Australian conditions.
Ganguly was effusive in his praise of VVS Laxman (103 not out), Sachin Tendulkar (86) and Rahul Dravid (74) while also singling out young medium-pacers Irfan Pathan and Lakshmipathy Balaji for their efforts.
"VVS (Laxman) has improved a lot in the one-dayers. In his early days he played a lot down the order. Batting at number five or six he did not get enough opportunity. He also has been a lot in and out of the team but he is beginning to get regular and has improved his one-day batting immensely."
Ganguly said he had found debutant Roahn Gavaskar a difficult bowler to play in the nets which prompted him to try the all-rounder as a fifth bowler during Australia's run chase, a move that paid dividend as he got a major breakthrough in his very first over.
"I have played him a lot in the nets since he has come in. I realised he is not an easy bowler to get away. May be because of trajectory and he varies his pace."
Ganguly felt that the Indian fielding had improved and his fast bowlers were learning to bowl well under pressure.
"They batted well so our bowlers were under pressure. But our bowlers performed very well. Our fielding has also improved. We took some good catches. It is not easy fielding under lights."
Australian captain Ricky Ponting praised the Indians for their sustained batting performance in the summer.
"We have some homework to do and sharpen our game in all aspects," said Ponting.
"It was an excellent one-day wicket and they capitalised on it."
Ponting blamed his batsmen for not staying around centurion Matthew Hayden as the most any stand yielded was 63 runs between Hayden and Michael Clarke.
"It was a huge factor, no doubt. Hayden got to a good start but he did not have many guys around him.
"We were probably a couple of too many wickets down to be able to accelerate towards the end of the innings."
The Aussie captain defended Brett Lee, who went for 83 runs in his 10 overs, but admitted that overall his bowling was not up to the mark.
"We did not bowl well and that is probably true when a batting side rattles up 300 runs.
"I am a bit disappointed with Lee but he is just getting back into one-day cricket. I was really happy with his rhythm in Hobart. It would take him a little while to settle back into his role. His role was also different today, he didn't take the new ball."
Ponting was all praise for Indian batting which he felt looked headed for an even bigger total at one point.
"At one stage it looked they would probably get much more than they actdually did. We pegged them back a little in the middle but then they got 50 off the last five overs."
"Laxman looked a bit slow in the middle of the innings. I thought he was holding up a bit but then he got valuable runs in the end. You cannot argue with a hundred from 113 balls."
First Published: Jan 18, 2004 20:47 IST