We need to re-think our strategy: Kumble

July 26th, 2008 - 11:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, July 26 (IANS) Indian captain Anil Kumble Saturday said his team needed to rethink their strategy after a crushing defeat against Sri Lanka in the first Test of the three-match series here at the Singhalese Sports Club ground here. In reply to Sri Lanka’s mammoth 600 for six declared, India managed only 223 and 138 in the game and were beaten by an innings and 239 runs, handing Sri Lanka the third biggest win in their Test cricket history.

“Obviously we need to look at our strategy in handling (Muttiah) Murali and (Ajanta) Mendis. We have to be a little more positive. They bowled exceptionally well and we did not bowl well,” Kumble told reporters at the end of the match.

“Avoiding the follow-on was always going to be tough. The wicket was not really helping spin but once you bat that way in the first innings it was going to be tough,” he said.

Asked whether his side lost the plot by over assessing Mendis and ignoring the threat posed by Muralitharan, Kumble said the team hadn’t forgotten the challenge of the master spinner.

“We are asked more about Mendis in media conferences. Probably the focus was on him but we always knew Murali and (Chaminda) Vaas were the ones. Murali is a champion bowler.

“We need to work on all three departments of the game. We dropped a few catches, Mahela (Jayawardhene) was dropped and so was (Thilan) Samaraweera. Zaheer (Khan) got (Malinda)Warnapura off a no-ball. We had to bowl well and also ensure we held the chances that came our way,” the Indian captain said when asked of his team’s sloppy fielding.

Kumble was confident that his experienced batting line up could turn things around in the next Test in Galle.

“They are players who have played for more than 15 years and you can’t get a more experienced line-up than this,” he said.

Sri Lankan captain Jayawardene, meanwhile, was thrilled with his side’s performance.

“We batted well to put them under pressure when they batted and then we bowled and fielded exceptionally. Once we enforced the follow-on we knew we had to be patient because the pitch wasn’t doing too much,” said Jayawardene, one of the four centurions during Sri Lankan innings.

He had special praise for his two spinners, who claimed 19 Indian wickets in the Test.

“We were lucky to get a couple of early wickets and after that Murali bowled brilliantly and Ajantha kept the pressure going at the other end. Special credit should go to Murali and Ajantha for how they bowled on what was a good batting track,” Jayawardene added.

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