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I went in with a clear mind: Sehwag

Triumphant Indian stop-gap captain Virender Sehwag lavished praise on his bowlers for leading the way in the sixth one-day international here on Wednesday.

india Updated: Nov 10, 2005 02:27 IST

Triumphant Indian stop-gap captain Virender Sehwag lavished praise on his bowlers for leading the way in the sixth one-day international here on Wednesday.

"I am very impressed with RP Singh and Sreesanth for the way they bowled on Wednesday. RP Singh particularly looks good as he is a left-arm medium-pacer and can get the ball into the right-hander and can swing the ball both ways," Sehwag said after India’s seven-wicket win at the Madhavrao Scindia ground here.

On his decision to field first, Sehwag said: "The last time we played here, we chased successfully. It was a good batting track. Also, the fact the Sri Lanka were without Muralitharan influenced the decision to field first."

Sehwag was enjoying his stint as captain in the middle. "I did not go with any thought in mind. I told the bowlers to maintain a good line and length. I went in with a clear mind," he said.

Sehwag was a little upset about his own form, not going on to big scores after getting starts. "It is difficult and irritating not to convert the 20s and 30s into big ones."

While he was concerned about the form of his premier batsmen, he said it did not matter so long as the team was winning.

Man of the Match Rudra Pratap Singh thanked coach Greg Chappell and the support staff for helping him put in a career-best performance. Aware that he may not be playing in every match, RP Singh looked at the positive side. "Even if I am not playing in the next match, I will work hard in the nets and improve my bowling."

Having made his ODI debut in Zimbabwe early this year, RP Singh said he was learning to bowl in different conditions. "In Zimbabwe, the pitches were seamer-friendly. Here in India, I had to bowl a different length."

Defeated Sri Lankan skipper Marvan Atapattu offered no excuses for his team's loss.

"It was not a good batting display from us. The pitch was not really ideal for batting but certainly it was not a 196 pitch. It looked more like a 240-pitch. However, no excuses for our loss," Atapattu said.

He said the presence of star off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan could have made a difference. "Murali had sustained a hamstring injury while fielding in the Ahmedabad one-dayer. We did not want to risk by playing him here. We decided to pull him out at the last minute.

"If Murali was available, we would have defended a score of 240 or thereabouts."

Atapattu said it was difficult for his side to stage a comeback after suffering defeats in a long series. "When you are at the receiving end in a long series, it is hard to come back. However, we have received support from the CEO of Sri Lanka Cricket (Duleep Mendis) despite our performances."

The Lankan skipper said that one bright spot in the series was the form of paceman Dilhara Fernando. "He has come back from a back injury and has done well in the series.

"He is one of the positives for us from the tour."

First Published: Nov 10, 2005 02:27 IST