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Kirsten rues missed opportunities

November 01, 2008 19:25 IST

Explanation is probably the worst punishment. Especially when things have not gone your way. To answer questions as regards what went wrong is probably worse than the 11 stitches that captain Anil Kumble received for the injury he suffered.

No wonder few players volunteer to meet the press after a poor day in the field. On such days, it is either some lesser players or the manager who are forced to take up that responsibility.

On Saturday, it was Gary Kirsten on behalf of Team India. The hosts had had a miserable day, almost everything had gone wrong. But, to his credit, Kirsten had made his preparations beforehand. So, even before the first question could be completed, came the answer.

"It was not a great day for us," admitted Kirsten.

Then followed an elaborate explanation. "Test cricket is all about creating opportunities and we didn't create enough during the day," he said.

"We arrived in the morning thinking we had a chance, of certainly getting ourselves to a winning position. But instead we let the Aussies capitalize on our mistakes"

So what went wrong, especially with the bowlers?

"I think we had enough variety in our bowling, with Viru (Virender Sehwag), our off-spin option, doing so well," defended Kirsten. "But it was not easy to get wickets on this pitch and we missed whatever opportunity came our way.

"I don't think we bowled well enough today to create enough opportunities. And when you rely on one opportunity that comes your way, guys are obviously going to make the mistake."

The hint was palpably on the dropped catches that let Michael Clarke, in particular, off the hook and proved costly in the long run.

"The fielding errors were crucial. Ishant's miss -- Clarke when he was yet to add to his overnight score -- in particular," admitted Kirsten.

But he was quick to defend the fielders for their follies (read the other dropped catches).

"Australia had crossed the 500-run mark when the other catches were dropped," he argued. "So they wouldn't have made much of a difference. But the first catch could have had a bearing on the game."

Now that they have let the opportunity slip, what do the Indians plan to do next?

"We need to bat at least a session and a bit tomorrow so that we can set a decent target," said Kirsten, before admitting, "But, yeah, time is running out."

Our Correspondent