Poor fielding put India paid
India suffered badly because of their fielding. I would rather say fielding prowess of the Australians alone helped the world champions to turn back Indians' advance. I think both India and Australia performed at par in both batting and bowling areas but in the end it was the hosts' fielding which sealed their fate in the game.india Updated: Nov 19, 2003 22:20 IST
India suffered badly because of their fielding. I would rather say fielding prowess of the Australians alone helped the world champions to turn back Indians' advance.
I think both India and Australia performed at par in both batting and bowling areas but in the end it was the hosts' fielding which sealed their fate in the game. No team can enjoy the luxury of dropping five catches which virtually means allowing the opposition to play with that many extra batsmen.
The one man most disappointed with it would be Indian coach John Wright. He doesn't expect any excuses for poor fielding from the players as he is the one who really puts his heart and soul into the fielding drills. A lot of time is spent on strategies with respect to the batting and bowling but somehow fielding is one thing which slips away from the main focus at times.
Australians fielding, in terms of runs saved, is like an extra player contributing. By the same token, Indians when they slip up are minus one contribution. I am sure we would have crossed the target if not for the fielding lapses.
The Kangaroos reiterated their supremacy as the world champions played their cards well to beat India in the finals.
Sourav Ganguly missing out on the finals was a cruel blow. It wasn't a great start with Ganguly sitting out on fitness count. He is such a big influence on the team and the stand-in skipper Rahul Dravid has always kept well behind the stumps when he has not many things in his head.
Born-again all-rounder Ajit Agarkar and Zaheer Khan gave a wonderful start to the Indians, probably the best in the entire tournament, and got rid of the dreaded openers who for the first time failed in the series. It wasn't easy for inexperienced Avishkar Salvi to come and play the only game of the tournament and that too the finals.
I felt the Indian leg-spinner Anil Kumble could have played a bigger role. The Indian bowling on the whole was fantastic and Harbhajan, back into the side, tormented the Australians.
Ever-improving Murali Kartik once again made inroads into the Australian batting.
Ponting rode on his luck and made useful contribution but it was once again Damien Martyn, a very good player of spin bowling, who salvaged the sinking Australian ship. He has been magnificent on the tour and has countered our spinners extremely well.
The man-of-the-match Michael Clarke certainly gained momentum during the series and peaked at the right time. Nothing can be a bigger asset to a team than to see a youngster make an impression so huge that he is adjudged man of the final. He showed a cool head and scored invaluable runs in the end which truly won the match for his team.
Indian batsmen must be a disappointed lot. Virender Sehwag departed early which never made things easy. Nathan Bracken, who I thought was a strong contender for the man-of- the-series, made good use of the evening dew on the wicket, along with bustling Brad Williams. The new ball really darted all over and it hampered the Indian batsmen.
Had it been one regular batsman at the wicket till the completion of 50 overs, the game would have been ours. Sachin Tendulkar got into his groove along with VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid and India appeared to be taking complete control.
Indeed, at the time of Tendulkar's dismissal, Indians were pretty much in the driver's seat. Yuvraj failed and Badani didn't capitalise on his good start.
Dravid must be extremely dejected with the end result. He did most of the things right like the bowling changes and batted sensibly until his unfortunate dismissal. His exit signalled the end with Agarkar left stranded at the other end and watching his partners come and go in a procession.
Dravid, doing a three-in-one job, wouldn't hesitate to take the responsibility of defeat all by himself. It just means he is painstakingly honest.
First Published: Nov 19, 2003 14:52 IST