Ramnaresh Sarwan, who led the West Indies in the second half of their thrilling victory against Australia after Brian Lara could not take the field due to back spasms, was understandably overjoyed when he spoke to the press at the end of the match. ""It was a well-planned and well-executed win for us," he said. "We had beaten the Australians last month in Kuala Lumpur, so it was a matter of keeping the momentum going. The win was no surprise for us."
Sarwan pointed to the dismissals, in quick succession, of Adam Gilchrist and Michael Clarke as a vital ingredient in fashioning West Indies' 10-run win. "They [Gilchrist and Clarke] were batting well and their dismissals were the turning point of the day. Our spinners too bowled very well, especially Chris Gayle. He is one of the top 10 all-rounders of the world and it is really nice to see him responding to the responsibilities of him."
Even as he talked about the bowlers, Sarwan was thoughtful enough to praise his batsmen, who set things up and gave the bowlers something to defend. "Shiv [Chanderpaul] was missing from the line-up today and that meant a little bit of absence of experience from our top order. But the way, Brian and Runako batted turned the game in our favour," he said.
Interestingly, Jerome Taylor, one of the stars of the day and the first West Indian to take a hat-trick in one-day internationals, did not even know of his achievement till the last moment. "It was a nice feeling to get a hat-trick and it is something that does not often happen in international cricket. It is a proud feeling to take a hat-trick for the West Indies," he said. "But till Sarwan told me about it before the first ball of my 10th over, I was not aware of the hat-trick part." Taylor added that he, and his team, believed all along that they had put enough runs on the board. "We felt that the total was defendable one, if we get some early wickets, and we did that."
Ricky Ponting, when he addressed the media, refused to blame the pitch for the defeat. "We can't blame the pitch or the conditions for our defeat," he said "It is just that our batting was not up to the mark. Our plan was to keep wickets at hand and play through the new ball. But it did not work out as Shane [Watson] and some of us got out early. But Adam Gilchrist and Michael Clarke batted well for us today."
Ponting also believed that the total was not beyond Australia's reach. "Chasing 230-plus total under lights is always going to be tough," he said. "But the total was gettable and it is disappointing to lose the game like this. We will have a chat about the areas we did not play well today, and will try to improve upon them in the coming matches."