Sunday 3 August 2008 

Proud Kumble Praises His Side&#39s Character

India captain Anil Kumble said he was proud of his players after they bounced back on Sunday to level the series against Sri Lanka with a convincing 170-run victory in the second test in Galle.

India lost the opening test by an innings and 239 runs but the three-match series now stands at 1-1 after Sri Lanka, set a victory target of 307, were bowled out for just 136.

"I am really proud of the way we played in this test match," Kumble told the media.

"The first test was one of those games where nothing went right for us, but the way we have come back after four days it's really amazing," he said

"I am really proud of the fact that I have this group of players who have shown so much resilience not just once but time and time again."

Kumble praised man of the match Virender Sehwag who scored an unbeaten 201 and then 50 in the second innings.

"The way Viru (Sehwag) got those runs, scoring 201 out of 329, is something that is really amazing," he said.

"And also taking that forward to the second innings is never easy - it was brilliant batting. Our opening partnerships in both innings were very important for us.

Kumble also paid tribute to off spinner Harbhajan Singh, who took 10 for 153 in the match, and teenage fast bowler Ishant Sharma who captured 3-20 in the second innings.

"For a 19-year-old to crank it up like he (Sharma) did was something special."

Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene blamed his batsmen for their inconsistency.

"I thought chasing 307 on a fourth-day pitch was a good score to chase but it's important you get a good start in any run chase," said Jayawardene.

"We didn't get that and being 10 for three was obviously not ideal - we're very disappointed with those last two sessions."

He added: "The bowling unit fought really well throughout the game but we failed to capitalise on our first innings where we needed to get a lead and put India under pressure."

© Reuters 2008

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