Kumble hails Indian players after beating Australia

Updated: January 19, 2008, 6:53 AM ET
Reuters

By Julian Linden

PERTH, Jan 19 - India captain Anil Kumble has praised the character of his players for the gallant way they fought back from the disappointment of losing in Sydney to beat Australia in the third test on Saturday.

India pulled off a stunning 72-run victory to hand Australia their first test loss against any team in nearly 2-1/2 years and their first at home for more than four years.

Few people gave India any chance of defeating the Australians on the notoriously fast and bouncy WACA pitch after they lost the first two matches in Melbourne and Sydney but they defied their critics with a deserving win.

"We had our moments in Melbourne and Sydney but I'm really happy that we could grab those opportunities here in Perth," Kumble told a news conference.

"We were 2-0 down and we knew could lose the series here if we didn't play really well so it was important that we came back and we've done that."

Kumble said he was especially proud of the way his players had been able to distance themselves from the bitter fallout between the teams in Sydney and the suspension of Harbhajan Singh for an alleged racist offence.

There were fears the tour might even be cancelled but Kumble said the players had agreed to put it all behind them and just concentrate on the cricket.

GREATEST ACHIEVEMENTS

"I don't think there was any kind of revenge or ill-feeling but it was important that we rallied around ourselves," he said.

"We all sat down and discussed how we were going to go forward. That's when we decided we'd concentrate on cricket and leave the rest of the matters to whoever needs to handle it.

"It was important we focussed all our efforts on playing cricket. I'm really glad everyone responded and stepped up to the plate."

Kumble missed India's stunning turnaround win over Australia in Calcutta in 2001 but said beating the Australians in Perth ranked as one of Indian cricket's greatest achievements.

"Considering the fact that no visiting team gets any sort of chance coming into Perth and being 2-0 down, it was a great effort and a brilliant victory," he said.

"If you look back at whatever victories I've been involved in both at home and away this will probably rank as one of the best.

"We came here to win the series, to play good cricket and show that the Indian team is a good test cricket unit and I'm really happy that we've been able to do that.

"Even in Sydney we did that but unfortunately we didn't get the result there and we've showed that, in what is regarded as probably the home turf for Australia, that we've been able to beat them here so it's very special.

"Now we have to take this confidence to Adelaide and try and level the series."

(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index

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