The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Down and out' Blame wicket

Nagpur, Oct. 29: As the Australians rejoiced after breaking their 35-year jinx, the Indians reflected on what could have been.

Victorious captain Adam Gilchrist spoke of how his team had reaped benefits from the lessons learned on the 2001 tour and his Indian counterpart Rahul Dravid said India was willing to learn from their crushing defeat.

'One thing to learn from the Australians is how well they planned for this series. They ensured that their top players had a good amount of cricket in these conditions over the last few years. Some of the players are sent here to take part in domestic tournaments or visit the MRF academy. These things make a difference,' Dravid said.

'I'd credit the gameplan we had this time around. I think in our preparation, the amazing experience and knowledge we had from that series three years ago came in handy,' Gilchrist said.

The hosts' dressing room was shut for an hour after the awards ceremony before the players eventually trooped back slowly and quietly to their hotel.

Sourav Ganguly, who has been laid low with injury, looked devastated. 'Yeah, it's a debacle. You've seen it all for yourself. I've nothing to say. This sort of batting collapse leaves me baffled,' he told The Telegraph.

Dravid did not hide his disappointment over the wicket. 'This wicket probably suited their squad more than it did ours. There's no doubt about that,' he said.

'It was an interesting wicket to see in India. It'll be really nice to see these kinds of wickets in domestic cricket, especially at the under-19 level. The season is just starting in India and it will be interesting to see if groundsmen across India take interest in preparing wickets like this. To have a wicket like this straightaway in a Test match is asking for too much,' Dravid added.

He felt the 543-run target was too stiff and it would have been difficult to bat five sessions. 'We should have fought much better with our batting.'

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