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''We took the game away from India'': SA captain

Chennai, Mar 30 (UNI) South African team Captain Graeme Smith today agreed that India's opener Virender Sehwag's gallant triple century knock stood in the way of his team forcing a win in the first Test match, which ended in a tame draw at the M A Chidambaram stadium here today.

Talking to newspersons here, after the match, Smith, who himself played a good knock in both the innings, said he thought the Test was dead without a result when Sehwag went on to score the triple ton.

''Perhaps a positive result could have been forced by us, had we got Sehwag when he completed his double century,'' he said.

Smith, however, said the performance in the first Test had put his team in the right frame of mind for the second match at Ahmedabad which starts on April 3. ''Both the sides handled the conditions well here, but we took the game away again from India in the second innings,'' the South African captain added.

''It was an incredible day for us from bowling point of view,'' Smith said, referring to his team getting India all out in their first innings for a small lead after they overhauled his team's score of 540.

''We changed a few game plans and did a few things positive. When we bowled early in India's first innings, our bowlers expected the ball to swing. But there was litte swing'', he said.

Answering a question about the wicket prepared for the first Test, Smith said ''a wicket with help also for bowlers would have made both the teams happy,'' added that at Ahmedabad his team would be happy, if the pitch had something, equally balanced for both bat and the ball.

''Our performace here is a positive sign for the second Test. I am very encouraged,'' the southpaw said.

Smith hailed the performance of his batsmen saying ''I was very happy with the way our top six batters performed. Our pace bowlers Nitini and Steyn also picked up confidence after bagging a few wickets in India's first innings and kept the lead down.'' Lauding his opening partner Neil McKenzie, who scored an unbeaten century in the second innings, Smith said ''McKenzie took his game to a new level. He is an experienced palyer now. He was in very good control here.'' Smith also hailed his team for countering India's spin twins in their home conditions.''I think we dealt with spin well so far. Our technique was quite sound,'' Smith pointed out.

''WE took the game away from India. That is important for us. But we have to improve and force positive results out of the next two Tests,'' he observed.


Story first published: Sunday, March 30, 2008, 19:34 [IST]
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