|The two captains after the tri-series final on Tuesday at the Eden. Pictures by Pradip Sanyal
|V.V.S. Laxman takes a tumble after catching Ricky Ponting off Murali Kartik as Virender Sehwag starts celebrations at the Eden on Tuesday. Picture by Santosh Ghosh
Calcutta: The fans who had thronged the stands got their first shock when Sourav Ganguly was ruled out.
And at the end of the day, both the captains felt Sourav’s absence did make a major impact on the game.
“Sourav is a vastly experienced player and to miss someone of his calibre in this sort of a crunch game does matter a lot,” Rahul Dravid said at the press conference after India went down by 37 runs in the tri-series final at the Eden Gardens on Tuesday.
And the rival captain Ricky Ponting echoed his thoughts. “To miss a bloke who has scored 20-odd hundreds does mean a lot. The Indians missed him badly,” Ponting summed up.
Before the game, both teams were apprehensive about the toss-factor. But at the end of the day, it didn’t mean that much.
“After restricting them to 235, we should have won. But our batsmen did not bat well at all,” Dravid said.
“Not to bat 50 overs is a cardinal sin. And we committed that.”
One point that came up for debate was playing six specialist batsmen. “Six batsmen should have been good enough to win the match for us,” the stand-in captain remarked.
When asked whether playing Anil Kumble would have been handy on this wicket, Dravid said: “It may seem that way in hindsight, but this could not have been envisaged before the match.”
Talking about the forthcoming Australian tour, he said: “We’ve to improve in all departments of the game to do well.”
But does Ponting foresee a whitewash when the Indians go on tour, especially after beating them in three of the four matches with a second-string attack.
“Definitely we’ll have the upper hand when they come. The Indians will really have to play out of their skins to pose a challenge.”
Talking about the day’s performance, the Aussie captain said: “We had come here as the underdogs. It was an excellent performance by all means.
“It was a hostile environment, I’m really happy the boys have stood up to the challenge.”
But did the skipper ever have thoughts of losing the match after being restricted to 235.
“We knew 230-plus was a good score. The Indians do not bat deep and we always had our chance on a wearing wicket,” he added.
When asked about the pluses emerging out of this trip, Ponting said: “The way the boys have coped with the dry wickets all along the tournament is really satisfying.”
Was he happy with his own show' “Yes, I guess I did better than last time. But I wouldn’t have mind have we won without me scoring too many.”