Kumble blames defeat on batsmen

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/k/kumble1.jpg' class='caption'> Anil Kumble on Saturday blamed the batsmen for failing to capitalise on the bowlers' good work and meekly surrendering to Australia in the Boxing Day Test.

Updated: January 02, 2008 08:44 IST
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Smarting from his first defeat as India captain, Anil Kumble on Saturday blamed the batsmen for failing to capitalise on the bowlers' good work and meekly surrendering to Australia in the Boxing Day Test.

Despite the Indian bowlers restricting the hosts to 343 in the first innings, the batsmen came a cropper in the match, in which the visitors were shot out for 196 in the first essay and bundled out for 161 in the second.

Kumble did not make any effort to defend his batsmen, who, he felt, did not perform to their potential.

"Yes (it's disappointing), especially after we fought back on the first day after lunch. The first innings was crucial. After we restricted them for less than 350, getting out for less than 200 was disappointing," Kumble said after the match.

The Indian captain said the team should have batted session-wise and tried to hang around to build big scores.

"We should have batted in sessions. We lost one wicket before lunch and then lost wickets in a hurry," he rued.

The veteran leg-spinner, however, was satisfied with the performance of his bowlers who grabbed 17 Australian wickets in the match.

Kumble, however, was confident that the batsmen would make amends when India meet the hosts for the second Test starting on January 2 at Sydney.

"The MCG wicket was difficult to bat on and play your shots. I hope Sydney would be better where ball would come onto the bat."

"With the kind of batting line-up we have, I think it's more of a mental thing than about skill," he said.

Asked if the defeat had prompted the team think-tank to make changes in the squad, Kumble said, "I think it's too premature to talk about that. We would definitely sit and discuss the game."

Victorious Australian skipper Ricky Ponting appreciated his bowlers' hard work, which was crucial in taming the famed Indian batting line-up.

"Our bowlers did a good job, especially today. It was hot and they ran in hard and bowled. There was a little bit of reverse swing. So it was fantastic," he said.

Just one short of emulating the Steve Waugh-led team's record of 16 back-to-back victories, Ponting, however, was not ready to be distracted by the record.

"Things can change quickly. We can gain some confidence from this win and quickly get ready for the next match in Sydney and execute things," he said.

Australian opener Matthew Hayden, who was adjudged the man-of-the-match, said he was delighted to play a crucial role in his team's victory.

"I really enjoyed it. I was looking forward to it...Ponting winning the toss and opting to bat was a good decision. It was important to get a good start and it's nice have a big one," he said.

The opener, who struck a century in the first innings, said it was challenging to bat for long time, as the weather was very hot and demanding.

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