Rahul led the side very well
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Rahul led the side very well

It was a convincing win in Gwalior under tough conditions. Beating Australia is always satisfying, writes Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly.

india Updated: Oct 29, 2003 00:04 IST

It was a convincing win in Gwalior under tough conditions. Beating Australia is always satisfying considering they’re a very good side, and to be honest we’re the only side which has managed to beat them on quite a few occasions in the recent past.

It was a good toss to win but with the amount of dew there I think the conditions were even after 100 overs.

Gwalior has always been a high scoring venue but this wicket was a bit slower than the normal one. Sachin and Laxman once again played superbly. They both needed to lift their games and batted splendidly. The slowness of the outfield did take away a few runs from them but not the quality of batsmanship.

Laxman has shown lot of character and mental toughness in the past few weeks. His class was never in doubt but considering his omission from the World Cup squad it takes a great effort from anyone to come back in such a manner.

We lost our way a bit in the middle but it happens when two batsmen are nearing their hundreds, but it ended up with two outstanding knocks from Yuvraj and Agarkar. Yuvraj seems to improve every time and has become an asset to the team.

Bowling would have always been tough considering the dew factor. Not only does it quicken the outfield but also makes it difficult for the bowler to grip the ball, specially in a side full of spinners.

Kumble was a class apart. I thought Harbhajan looked to bowl a bit defensively. He troubled Gilchrist a bit in 2001 Test series and should continue to bowl an attacking line to anybody, as he is a strike bowler.

Zaheer came back well in his second spell and so did Sehwag, who I feel should be used more in both forms of the game by me and Rahul.

Rahul handled the bowlers well and his field placings were good. There’s talk about his captaincy in the Chandigarh Test but he stood well up to it.

I just need to make one request to the cricket world. For heaven’s sake, don’t expect any captain to be brilliant from the first day.

It was a professional effort from India but let’s keep the performance up and continue to play as the second best team in the world. As far as my fitness is concerned I have improved considerably and have the Cuttack game on November 6 as my target.

My stitches will be cut on Thursday and I’ll be probably in a better position then to assess my fitness. Personally, I feel I should be okay and will be there at the ground on the sixth.

First Published: Oct 28, 2003 23:46 IST