July 9, 2002

Irani delighted with England win

England's man of the match Ronnie Irani was thrilled with his team's win in the dress rehearsal for the NatWest Series Final at The AMP Oval. The Essex all-rounder hit 53 in England's total of 229 for eight and then took five for 26, before taking the catch that ended the Indian innings on 165.

"It went well didn't it?" Irani said. "The play by Alec Stewart was superb behind the stumps. It really went well for England today and hopefully it will on Saturday as well.

"You want to achieve and you know at the highest level you have responsibility wherever you are asked to bat."

Irani's captain and Essex team-mate Nasser Hussain regarded England's performance as a substantial improvement on last Sunday, when they were beaten by Sri Lanka.

"We were very good today," Hussain said. "I was very pleased, it was a good toss to win, Knight and Trescothick went about it the right way, in fact so did everyone who batted.

"It was a good score on there then we bowled well and took our catches as well. A few words were said after the last game but on the whole they know they're playing some good cricket.

"We just kept having these mad half-hours but today we had some very good half-hours. A final at Lord's is completely different and we will have to go back to basics for a 50-overs game, but we got a lot of confidence from our display here."

India captain Sourav Ganguly said: "I thought England played pretty well, they were better in all departments today."

Asked about Anil Kumble's fitness, Ganguly said: "He's just got cramps in his calf. I don't know exactly what happened to him, we will just have to see how he is."