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We can bounce back, says Blackwell

"We are 2-0 down but it's a seven-match series. There's still a long way to go," said the England off-spinner.

india Updated: Apr 02, 2006 10:02 IST

Two defeats on the trot has not affected the mood in the England camp and the visitors are confident of bouncing back in the seven-match series, left-arm spinner Ian Blackwell said on Saturday.

"The mood in the camp is very good. We should have won the last two games if we had performed a little better. But we still have a good chance to win the series," the 27-year-old said ahead of the third ODI to be played at the Nehru Stadium on Monday.

"We are 2-0 down but it's a seven-match series. There's still a long way to go," Blackwell said.

Blackwell said England, who have never played at this venue which is hosting its sixth ODI, needed to have a re-look at their performance, both in batting and bowling, and rectify the mistakes they had made.

"We will assess our performance over the last two games, at how people gave the wickets away, and the way we bowled at certain people. It's something we have to rectify.

"It's small things that are more than capable of turning things around. Andrew Flintoff is a superb captain. He is a superb batsman and can help the side to win," he said.

Blackwell said England probably missed a second spinner to complement his performance (1 for 24 and 2 for 39 in the first two games), but insisted that was not the reason his side lost in the second match at Faridabad after India were struggling at 92 for five chasing 227.

"We possibly missed the second spinner at Faridabad. But the loss was more due to the match winning partnership (of 118) by Suresh Raina with Mahendra Singh Dhoni. It clinched the game for India rather than us actually missing the second spinner. If you look at the bowling figures the seamers had done a pretty good job," he pointed out.

Talking about the wickets, Blackwell expressed his happiness to have had an opportunity to bowl at the strong Indian batting line-up on spin-friendly pitches offering low and uneven bounce.

"The bounce has been a bit up and down. It's quite difficult to score on it. The scores have reflected that. But it's the same for both the sides. If there's a bit of more bounce in the later stages of the series, it may change things, you never know.

"Faridabad was a good wicket for me personally. It was great for me and it did turn. For me it was a great help bowling on such pitches. The likes of Dravid, Yuvraj and Sehwag can tear you apart. It's a great opportunity bowling at them on assisting wickets. But there's always pressure to bowl whether they are quality batsmen or tail-enders," he said.

Asked why the in-form Matthew Hoggard was not picked for the two matches, Blackwell said it was probably done because he was not in the original tour party for the ODIs and was only retained after the Test series as replacement for the injured Steve Harmison.

"I think he was brought in as a late replacement and there were a few guys selected ahead of him in the ODI squad before coming to India. So they are being given preference over Hoggy although he's a very good bowler with the white ball. But it's the management's decision."

Blackwell, who is touted as an all rounder but has not done anything extra-ordinary with the bat on the tour, admitted he was disappointed with his batting.

"Yes of course I am disappointed with my batting. It's something I wanted to improve on coming from the Pakistan series to here. I have much more to give than I have done so far," he said.

"In certain times of the innings I have been under pressure, trying to win a game or going for the last few overs for a slog to try and get a few extra runs especially on wickets that were not easy there to hit out. It's been difficult for me but I am keen to improve."

Blackwell defended the sweep shot played by most of his team's batsmen against the Indian spinners.

"I don't know really. It's part of the game, something the England team has been trying to develop a lot more over the last few years. Playing spin with the sweep shot is one of the legitimate ways to play. They are very good shots to score from.

"Three guys got out to the sweep shot in the first game. Nobody was out sweeping in the last game. It's just one of those things," said the player who made his one-day debut four years ago against Sri Lanka."

Blackwell said the heat factor had not affected the England team so far.

"The last game was not too bad and there was a nice breeze too," he said.

The all rounder refused to single out any Indian player as dangerous and said the home team had a lot of quality players for England to be wary of.

"India are a very good international team with a lot of very good players. We just try and take early wickets with the ball and try and consolidate when we bat first. Without singling anyone out, I would say they have a very good, balanced team."

Blackwell blamed absence of a stable team for England's lack of success in the one-day format.

"We have not had a stable one-day team. There have been quite a few ins and outs. Whether it's because of injuries or England themselves not knowing what's their best one-day team is. It can have an effect on how a team gels," he reflected.

First Published: Apr 02, 2006 10:02 IST