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November 16, 2005
Rahul Dravid reflected on a disappointing loss by maintaining that India look at each game at a time and not the past. One of the positives he drew from the match was the batting of Yuvraj Singh, whose superb 103 put some pressure back on the South Africans after five early wickets fell. Both spoke to the press at Hyderabad after the match.
On the outcome
Well, it was pretty obvious that we needed to bat better initially. We didn't play the first 15 to 20 overs well. Once you're 35 for 5, you can't really make a maximum score. I think Yuvraj and Irfan Pathan, and Ajit [Agarkar] and Harbhajan Singh batted really well. It was a really special knock from Yuvraj, and great that we got 249.
On what he thought would have been a par score
On this pitch, I think we needed 280. It stayed very good right through and didn't spin as much as we thought it might in the afternoon. Having said that, we took the game to the 99th over and bowled well in patches. We probably needed one more wicket, with Kemp and Kallis going well.
On the positives to take from the game
Quite a few. Yuvraj's batting, the contributions of our lower order, and just the fact that we were able to bat the 50 overs and then take them to 49. Harbhajan Singh bowled well, and Ajit and RP Singh did as well. From 35 for 5, we made a match of it and that's something to take heart from.
On whether Murali Kartik was missed after being subbed
Would have been nice to have him as a fifth bowler, but we had to make that call after losing four early wickets. We did have other spin options in Sachin [Tendulkar], Yuvi and Veeru [Sehwag], but it didn't work today for us. But that's up to the batting. If we'd played better, we wouldn't have had to use the batsman.
On whether he had expected the South Africans to come at India so hard
We always knew that they would. We knew that they were a very good side. They played some good cricket, but it was a close game.
On why RP Singh wasn't bowled after his first seven overs cost just 18 runs
Oh, I just felt that it wasn't easy to hit the spinners. I felt that Yuvraj was doing a good job for us and creating a bit of pressure. As we saw when we batted, when the seamers came on with the old ball, it tended to disappear to all parts. It wasn't swinging or reversing much and I just thought that the spinners taking the pace off could control the runs and take a wicket. If Yuvraj or Sachin had got a wicket, things might have been different, but credit to Kallis and Kemp.
On whether this was a dampener after the euphoria of the 6-1 rout of Sri Lanka
I don't think it takes away anything from the spirit. We look at each game on its own, and don't worry about what's happened in the past. We can take several positives from this game.
On whether he was surprised at being sent in to bat
No, I would have done the same thing. There was something in the pitch initially and the first 10 or 12 overs would be tough. With the 9am starts in India, that tends to happen. Their bowlers did quite well, but to be honest, our batsmen have to put their hands up and say that we didn't bat really well in that period. As Yuvraj and the later batsmen showed, it was a pretty good pitch.
On whether an allrounder like JP Yadav could have been chosen as Supersub instead of Gambhir
It's a tricky one. You look for the specialist sometimes. I think if you have that good an allrounder, then you might as well play him in the world. I look around the world and see all the matches being played and people try different combinations. Unfortunately, we didn't bat well up front and that forced us to play the card. It didn't work today. I also thought Gautam deserved a chance up front. The ball was still seaming around and he's an opener who's also been in very good form for us. It's not easy either being a Supersub. He was probably sitting down there, not sure if he's going to play. He's suddenly asked to pad up and go out, that's a tricky one and my sympathies are with him.
On all three centuries this season coming in pressure situations, and whether that was a sign of new-found maturity.
Batting under pressure, I concentrate more. I play a bit more attentively and try to stay till the end.
On how disappointed he was at the loss
When we got to 249, I thought it was a competitive total, but 25 runs extra would have really put us in the game. I'm disappointed but we've got four more games.
Dileep Premachandran is features editor of CricinfoFeeds: Dileep Premachandran
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