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India, Kumble do it again at Kotla

Kumble starred in India's win in the second Test against Sri Lanka.

india Updated: Dec 15, 2005 10:11 IST

In the beginning there was resistance. The Sri Lankans appeared in a mood to fight. The wicket appeared at its best behaviour but in the end it was a matter of time. India wrapped up the Test soon after the lunch break to go one up in the three-Test series on the final day at the Ferozeshah Kotla here on Wednesday.

Itwas Anil Kumble again who did the trick, being well supported by Harbhajan Singh.

The win was a forgone conclusion after the Lankan top order had crumbled last evening. Yet the way Mahela Jayawardene batted, it was obvious that the wicket had lost most of its sting and had become so slow that any batsman with patience and care could have stayed at the wicket.
But the Lankans, short of experience, were no match to the accuracy of the Indian bowlers and the pressure of a huge deficit must have been hard to handle.

Kumble was the man smiling in the end, ending up with a ten-wicket haul, his eighth in his career and must be now devising plans to pocket this Kotla wicket and unroll it where ever he plays his cricket.

Soon after the presentation ceremony, Indian skipper Rahul Dravid attributed this victory to the "good team effort" by his players on all five days.

"It was not just because of the lucky ground (Kotla), we played some good and hard game of cricket," Dravid said, adding: "The wicket was not bad. It was not the kind of wicket where ball turned square on the last two days. It was a hard working win."

On sending Irfan Pathan to open the innings with Gautam Gambhir in the second innings of the Test, Dravid called it a tactical move to unsettle the Lankan gameplan.

"We've no plans of making Irfan an opening batsman. Rather this decision was taken keeping in view that he (Irfan) was finding it tough to handle Muralitharan with the old ball. It's always easier on slow turners to play the new ball then the old one. My reasoning was that it was the best time for him to play his shots. And it worked perfectly," said Dravid.

On team's selection problem for the next Test at Ahmedabad after a flawless knock by Yuvraj Singh on Tuesday, Dravid said it's good to have this kind of "happy problem" for any team.
"I don't call it a problem. It's a happy problem. It's good to see that we've two- three players good enough to play in the team."

Kumble also echoed his skipper opinion when asked to comment on his love affair with the Kotla where he has now picked 48 wickets in five matches so far.

"It's just a coincidence. People talk too much about the pitch. I think everyone should give credit to the 11 players out in the middle for playing good cricket," said Kumble.

"It was good to play on a ground where you have done well before. But this Kotla pitch was not the same one, which had a lot of spin in the past. It is good to come back to a ground where you have done very well before. But this was not the typical Kotla pitch. There was not much of a turn in the wicket and it was a lot of hard work," observed Kumble.

The Indian skipper praised his predecessor Sourav Ganguly's batting in both the innings. "His (Ganguly) innings was a crucial one. And he played well in both the innings," praised Dravid, without dropping slightest of the hint that the man he is talking about has already been dropped from the side.

Day 1: Sachin races past Sunny, smashes 35th ton

 
Day 2: Kumble brings India back in contest

 
 Day 3: Pathan, Kumble put India in command 
Day 4: Perfect script, stage set for India win

 

First Published: Dec 14, 2005 09:54 IST