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Sachin behind Irfan Pathan's promotion

Irfan's promotion to the number three slot was a strategy devised by him.

india Updated: Oct 25, 2005 18:38 IST

Irfan Pathan's promotion to the number three slot was a strategy devised by Sachin Tendulkar to catch the Sri Lankans off guard, a surprise move which paid dividends for the Indian cricket team.

"Sachin came up with the idea to me. We then discussed it with the coach and thought it would be a good move to surprise the Lankans," revealed skipper Rahul Dravid after India thrashed Sri Lanka by 152 runs in the first one-dayer here on Tuesday.

"I must also say that luck was with me today," said Dravid.

Pathan, who has never batted earlier than the number eight slot, came in to bat at number three and joined forces with Tendulkar to give a flying start to the Indian team. He made 83 off 70 balls with the help of eight fours and four sixes.

Dravid, declared man of the match for his 63-ball unbeaten 85, said he was feeling a "little bit of pressure" before the game but Tendulkar and Pathan "calmed my nerves".

He was also profuse in his praise of Tendulkar, who marked his return to international cricket with an aggressive 93 off 96 balls.

"Sachin was brilliant. He makes a huge difference to the side. His contributions on and off the field were terrific. We sorely missed him and it is great to have him back."

Praising the rest of the team, Dravid said the victory was made possible due to contributions from every member of the side.

"It was a fantastic team effort. First Sachin and Pathan set the game up for us, then the spinners bowled beautifully. We had a score of 340 in mind. When Sachin and Pathan were out, we thought if things worked well, we can score 340. Then people like Dhoni came in."

However, Dravid said it was just the first match of a long series and his team could not afford to take the Lankans easily.

"Sri Lanka are not the number two team in the world for nothing. There are still six matches to be played and I'm sure some tough cricket is ahead of us."

Sri Lankan skipper Maravan Atapattu gave full credit to India for the huge win while singling out Tendulkar for special mention.

"It is hard to contain him (Tendulkar) when he in full flow. Tendulkar and Pathan did all the damage upfront."

He said his team failed to keep itself in the hunt as it lost too many wickets.
"It was a good wicket to bat early on although it did deteriorate a little bit later. But we did not have enough wickets in had, had we managed to do that, we could have been in the hunt."

However, Atapattu promised a better show in the remaining matches of the seven-match series, saying the team would try not to repeat the mistakes they made in today's game.

First Published: Oct 25, 2005 17:38 IST