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Sunday, 23 March, 2003, 17:26 GMT

Ganguly: India well beaten

India captain Sourav Ganguly hailed Australia as "real champions" after his side were thrashed by 125-runs in the final of the World Cup.

India were set a mammoth total of 360 to win after Australia's top order made a mockery of their bowling attack.

In reply, India could only manage 234, as Australia rounded off their impressive campaign with another masterful display.

" It was just one of those days "
India's Sachin Tendulkar

"Yes, its a bit disappointing," said India captain Ganguly.

"Credit to them, they played very well. It was not an easy wicket to bat on early on - but they played like real champions."

India's bowlers who had impressed leading up to the final, experienced a nightmare day.

Veteran Javagal Srinath, who is India leading wicket taker in World Cups, proved to be the most expensive of the four specialists , going for 87 runs from his 10 overs.

Captain Ganguly, however refused to dwell on their poor performances.

"It was one those bad days for them. I think they bowled a bit too short," added Ganguly.

"But all credit to them. They bowled splendidly well throughout the tournament.

"Thanks to them and my other team-mates for their efforts in getting to the final. Obviously we didn't win but I'm very proud of them."



Ganguly also applauded the passionate India support.

"I thank them for turning up in such huge numbers.

"We couldn't bring the Cup home, but I think the way we played throughout the series and the fact we lost to the better team means that we can go home with out heads held up high," he said.

Tendulkar, who picked up the man-of-the-tournament award, agreed with his captain sentiments by congratulating India's bowlers on their efforts in getting India to the final.

"It was just one of those days," said Tendulkar, who was the highest run-scorer in the World Cup with 673, but fell for just four in the final.

"We didn't start well. It was a big moment for all of us. We tried hard but it didn't happen.

"The wicket helped a bit, but they found it tough to put the ball in the right areas.

"They have bowled really well throughout the tournament - but this was just one of those off-days."



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