India vs Sri Lanka, 3rd ODI, Jaipur, Oct 31 2005
Match Result: India won by 6 wickets (with 23 balls remaining)
Player of the Match: MS Dhoni
Rahul Dravid: “We wanted to play good cricket but didn’t expect such a result. It’s a real honour to play together for India. More or less everything is set for the semis, but we don’t want to be one-dimensional. We have to turn up on the day and put in another performance. Eight wins out of 12 games is a great campaign for the team. Now we have two more opportunities to finish in the top two and that gives the added motivation to play even more fearlessly.
The first huddle for any team is qualification. We still have areas to improve so that we work on those areas and get into the top 2. It wasn’t an easy wicket. When you don’t have any wickets on the scoreboard, you can take more risks. Which myself have to. 15-20 runs on this ground can be crucial, we have to plug in those areas. There’s a qualifier and eliminator to be played here. As a side we have had an endeavour to improve, in losses as well as wins.
We knew the wicket would get slower and slower, it’s not going to be easy to hit. Their Openers batted really well, but we knew we were just two wickets from coming back into the game. Our bowlers came back brilliantly and held their composure brilliantly. Look, the resurgence of Agarkar ever since he has succeeded in Test cricket, his body language has been diffierent, that’s what I keep telling guys.
You can bowl in any format. Harshal’s inclusion has been outstanding. Ramesh Powar has bowled well. Garton has come in and made an immediate impact.”
For us the opposition never matters, if we don’t play well anyone can beat us, if we play well we can beat anyone. He’s really motivated for this tournament, he’s thinking like a batsman, which helps, it’s amazing to have a cricketer like that who can bring so much to the table.”
Marvan Atapattu: “We ended up with close to 280 which was a good score. We kept losing wickets, and didn’t capitalise on a good start, we had to rebuild which is why we got 260. But Rohit and Rahul batted really well.
We have to think about what we got wrong, talk to the selectors and high-performance centre to identify some new talents. Four years is a long time. Sri Lankan cricket will miss him, in Test cricket and one-day cricket.
He was the man, he’s done a really good job. Everyone has to end their chapter, and we have to find a new guy, as we lacked bowlers to get wickets in the middle parts.”
MS Dhoni: “I wasn’t thinking about milestones, my job is to keep my head straight and get the team towards the finishing line. When you are in, shot selection becomes very important, I try to calculate how I want to go forward, and it has paid dividends.
You have to be disciplined in batting, and I’ve learned from my mistakes in the past. Every day is a new day, I start fresh, I try to think I’ve not played any ODIs, not got any hundreds in the tournament. The challenge as a sportsman is to keep your head straight.”