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Updated: December 1, 2009 19:19 IST

Team focussed on winning series: Dhoni

S. Dinakar
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MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said his side would be focussing on winning the match and the series than train its attention on the No. 1 Test spot.

“If we think about the No. 1 ranking alone, we would be putting more pressure on ourselves. I do not want that to happen.”

Dhoni said the slope at Brabourne would be a factor. “It (the slope) is more inclined than some of the other slopes that I have seen. The bowlers, particularly the pacemen, would have to put in more effort. It's like climbing a step.”

On spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan finding wickets hard to come by in the series, he said, “He's a great bowler. He remains a dangerous customer. Moreover, there has been plenty of cricket between India and Sri Lanka in the last few years. “That could be one of the reasons for us playing him so well. We have very experienced batsmen in the side who have seen a lot of Muralitharan.”

Asked about opener Gautam Gambhir's decision to give the Test a miss, he said, “the dates for the match clashed with his sister's wedding. “It's an individual decision.”

Queried about Harbhajan Singh's absence from the practice session on Tuesday, he said, “The day before the match is an optional session for the bowlers. They can prepare in their own way like doing some work at the gym.” The captain ruled out any fitness concerns. Harbhajan had taken a hit on his fingers on Monday while blocking a straight drive from Virender Sehwag but the injury, by all accounts, is not serious.

Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara said his side would have to regroup after the loss. “We have the ability to beat any side in the world,” he said.

Asked about Muralitharan's ordinary form in the series, he said, “Murali is someone who has done so much for Sri Lankan cricket. He is still our premier strike bowler. We continue to back him and expect him to do well here.”

Sangakkara said Sri Lanka would be keen to exploit the absence of the in-form Gambhir in a crucial Test but added, “We should also realise that the guy replacing him would be hungry to succeed.”

The Sri Lankan captain indicated that paceman Nuwan Kulasekara would make the eleven. In the same breath he conceded that fast bowler Dilhara Fernando had been bowling well in the nets. “He (Fernando) has been away for a while but has settled into the squad quickly. We will have to make the tough decision on whom to leave out on Tuesday night.” He also said Ajantha Mendis would not be in the final XI.

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