The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bowling the biggest plus, says Dravid
- Spirit of the game was not upheld, feels Lara

St John’s: India skipper Rahul Dravid says the performance of his largely inexperienced bowling line-up on the final day was the biggest positive that his team could draw from the first Test which they came agonisingly close to winning.

“If you look at the result, you might feel disappointed. But for me it is important that we play good cricket and that we did on the day,” Dravid said after the match. “Today’s performance has given me a lot of heart. All of them were very keen to bowl. They wanted to bowl under the pressure. People were turning their arms over (in the final stages) and looking at me (in order to bowl).”

However, Dravid requested fans not to put too much pressure on the young seamers and expect them to become tearaway fast bowlers.

Dravid showered praise on Man-of-the-Match Wasim Jaffer, who put India in a commanding position with his double century in the second innings.

“It was a great innings. Some of the shots he played on that track wasn’t easy. The thing I liked about him was that he continued, he did not lose concentration. Dravid defended his bowling changes and the second new ball he took as soon as it was due at the start of the final 15 overs. “The ball was getting soft and I wanted to take the new ball. I would have brought on Kumble after three or four overs in any case.

“I persisted with Sreesanth because he was bowling in right areas at that stage,” the Indian captain said about his decision to have Sreesanth bowl the last over

Meanwhile, the West Indies captain Brian Lara has said that he got agitated during the drama involving Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s controversial dismissal as he felt the spirit of the game was not being upheld.

“There were 24 big men at the ground and they could not come to a decision. I thought the spirit of the game was not being kept. We all make mistakes but at the end of the day we all want to uphold the spirit of the game,” Lara said.

Dhoni’s dismissal under controversial circumstances on the fourth day was marked by an angry reaction from Lara, who snatched the ball from umpire Asad Rauf before asking Dhoni to accept the fielder’s word and walk off.

“I spoke to Rahul and the umpires and we sorted it out. I don’t want to be critical of umpires. We want them to be perfect but sometimes when you are watching the no-ball, ensuring players are not running on the pitch and all those sort of things, it is not an easy job. I would not want to be an umpire, really. It is a tough job. We need to support them.”

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