‘It was a good all-round batting performance’

Leeds: Staying afloat in the seven-match series was the main concern for Team India but Headingley’s morale-boosting victory has injected new optimism in captain Rahul Dravid, who is now thinking of winning the series.

India went into the fifth ODI trailing 1-3 and just one defeat away from conceding the series.

But stellar performance from Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Yuvraj Singh and M.S. Dhoni not only fashioned India’s win under the Duckworth/Lewis method but also kept the series alive for the visitors.

“I thought we batted beautifully. It was a good all-round batting performance and a great start again from Sachin and Sourav,” Dravid said after the match. “It’s nice to go to London with a chance to win the series,” said the buoyant Indian skipper.

Both the teams now move to London to play the last two matches at The Oval and Lord’s.

Dravid said the side got just the perfect score and the top order also lived up to the expectations. “It was a perfect batting performance. We needed a big score because we knew Duckworth-Lewis method would come into play,” Dravid said.

Strong start

“Sachin and Sourav gave us a strong start, Gautam Gambhir sustained the tempo and Yuvraj then finished with a flourish.”

Paul Collingwood, said the target was stiff but the conditions were not that bad.

“When an opposition gets 320-odd you are always going to question it. It was overcast but the ball didn’t do as much as I thought it would.

‘But give a lot of credit to Tendulkar and Ganguly, it was hard to stop them,” he said.

Making things worse

To make it worse for the host, Ravi Bopara injured his thumb, while trying to catch Gautam Gambhir off his own bowling.

It would be a new worry for the side, which did not field its talismanic all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, who is nursing a recurring ankle injury.

“They are going to be assessed in the next couple of days and hopefully they are not as bad as what they might seem,” Collingwood said.

Meanwhile, Ganguly celebrated his 300th ODI in style, with a Man of the Match performance. He followed up his well-paced 59-run knock with a two-wicket haul to emerge as India’s unlikely bowling hero.

“I had good starts but didn’t convert them. I have been consistent though,” Ganguly said of his batting.

Pat for Dhoni

While he was elated with his show with the ball, Ganguly said Dhoni deserves credit too, for effecting six dismissals in the match to equal world record.

“He was the only guy catching the ball today (Sunday),” he said, referring to a few dropped catches. — PTI

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