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Poor batting reason for loss: Chappell

The coach indicates that tough decisions could be taken once the team returns home.

india Updated: Jan 07, 2007 14:54 IST

Indian cricket coach Greg Chappell on Sunday admitted disappointing batting was the main reason why his team lost the series 2-1 after taking an early lead against South Africa.

"Our batting was disappointing in the last two Test having won the first game," he said. "There weren't many gremlins on the wicket (in Newlands) on the last day and that made our batting all the more disappointing".

Chappell also gave enough indications that tough decisions could be taken once the team returns home.

"Looking at the tour as a whole, there are more questions than answers. Over the next week or so, when we get back to India and have a chance to digest what happened, discuss and debrief this one and look into the future, we are going to make some decisions on which direction we go and there will be a few guys under a bit of pressure, there is no doubt".

Chappell mentioned the momentum India lost on the fourth afternoon when they batted far too slowly as well as the failure of his batters to build on the good start of the first day.

"The slow batting (of the fourth afternoon) That was a significant contribution in not winning the game. We probably failed to get as much as we should have in the first innings. Between these periods, the game slipped away".

Chappell acknowledged the concern on Virender Sehwag who was a major disappointment throughout the series but subtly also expressed his disappointment on other major batsmen of the side.

"He is certainly a concern but I don't think he is our only batting concern at the moment. We are just not getting enough consistent runs, we seem to be losing wickets in batches, which is something you try and avoid when you are playing international cricket.

"The first test win in South Africa by an Indian team, that in itself is to be enjoyed but the edge has been taken off by the disappointing batting of the last two Tests," he said.

Chappell didn't forget to mention the good job which Sourav Ganguly has done on the tour as well as contribution by Zaheer Khan who also made a comeback to the team.

"(Sourav) has done a good job. He has done what he was chosen to do, which was to get runs. I think his performance yesterday in difficult circumstances of having to be rushed in at the last minute was exceptional".

Dinesh Kaarthick coming down the order in the second innings after opening so successfully in the first was not without reason, said Chappell.

"It had been a calculated decision. If Sehwag could have played the way he does for an hour or so, we would have had 100 on the board and the game could have changed. Kaarthick had done a fabulous job in the first innings but he had also fielded for 130 overs and you can't ask too much of a young man".

Chappell didn't think there was any issue of a choice between Harbhajan Singh and Munaf Patel for the playing eleven of the Test.

"There was never a choice between Harbhajan and Patel. We were looking for a batting and bowling balance. Harbhajan hadn't bowled for a month. I don't think there was any fitness issue with Munaf. He didn't bowl because after the break Zaheer was fresh for another spell. You would have to ask Rahul the reason for it".

The pitch, subject of much speculation and crumbling, didn't deteriorate as quickly as everyone had expected to be.

"The wicket didn't deteriorate as much as a lot of people had expected. On the fourth and fifth day, it didn't change greatly. It wasn't a minefield, the ball wasn't flying around or staying up and down".

Chappell praised Sreesanth as the "outstanding" performer from the series.

First Published: Jan 07, 2007 13:04 IST