Monday 28 January 2008 

Kumble Disappointed, Ponting Maintains Australia On Top

Indian captain Anil Kumble has admitted his disappointment in the wake of Australia 2-1 Test series victory while his counterpart Ricky Ponting has again dismissed suggestions that Australia are no longer the best side in the game.

Kumble, speaking after the game, said "We have stepped up to their level. That is the quality we have," Kumble told a news conference.

"We lost pretty badly in Melbourne. We did exceptionally well in Sydney, I wish we had hung on for that seven or eight minutes to get a draw. Perth was very special and the way we played here was exceptional."

Australia won by 337 runs in Melbourne, 122 runs in Sydney before India hit back with a 72-run win in Perth with the final match in Adelaide drawn on a batsman-friendly pitch.

Kumble looked forward to a bright future for Indian cricket despite the likes of himself, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Saurav Ganguly approaching the end of their careers.

"Looking at the talent that was available, with a young lot stepping up to the plate here in the series, and also the future we have with the young players back home, it certainly augers well," he said.

"We didn't come with our full strength fast bowling attack and then we lost our main fast bowler, Zaheer (Khan), after the first test.

"The way the young fast bowling unit responded was fantastic, RP Singh led the attack, Irfan (Pathan) came in, bowled beautifully, Ishant (Sharma) was probably the find of the series.

"For a 19-year-old, first series in Australia, his attitude and aggression right throughout and the way he troubled every batsman was fantastic."

Ponting, meanwhile, was happy with the outcome of the series, and dismissed suggestions that Australia's time at the top was limited after Adam Gilchrist became the latest senior player to announce his retirement.

I think we have done a good job," Ponting said of his side's performance over the summer.

"Sri Lanka and India are two of the best test teams in the world and we have just beaten them both here. The cricket we have played has been very good and I couldn't be much happier."

He warned, however, that India would have to build for the future, despite being the second-ranked side in the world:

"Even though they're the No.2-ranked team right now they're going to lose four or five of their best players maybe even before the next time we play them," he said.

Appraising his side's performance and ranking, he said, "I don't know how far we are in front but you would think given what we have done over a fair period of time that we would be a fair way in front of the next team.

"It comes down to big moments in test matches and test series. This summer we have won most of those big moments."

"Even though they're the No.2-ranked team right now they're going to lose four or five of their best players maybe even before the next time we play them," Ponting said.