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Dev backs bowlers

NEW DELHI, March 2- World Cup winning captain Kapil Dev on Wednesday batted for India's under-fire bowlers after they almost let England run away with a key game at the weekend.

India’s prolific batsmen piled up a mammoth 338 in Sunday’s clash in Bangalore but the bowlers were exposed on a flat track, allowing England to squeeze out a thrilling tie.

India’s bowling attack was also found wanting in the opener against Bangladesh who took the fight to their fancied rivals by almost touching the 300-run mark.

"Our bowling was not up to the standards (in the first two matches)," Dev was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India news agency.

"But if our bowlers have fared poorly in the first two matches, it doesn’t mean that they are not good enough to take wickets.

"In the last two years, these are the bowlers who have won many matches for India with their good show. So I really don’t want to criticise them," said Dev who guided India to their only World Cup victory in 1983.

The former all-rounder however added India should have won the game against England.

"To a certain extent, the criticism is warranted. Even after scoring 338, we should have not lost or tied the game.

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"Somebody scores a good hundred and you post a good total of 338 on board and then you come out with a tie, it’s not ideal. In my opinion, England won that match.

"They played better cricket than India."

Dev also backed skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni who had blasted the Umpire Decision Review System over a controversial ruling on England batsman Ian Bell.

"If you have made a mistake, you can’t really change it. Either the third umpire should say not out or out. You can’t throw the decision back to the on-field umpire. That is unethical.

"Dhoni is correct in a way. When you make a law it is not necessary that everyone should like it."

India’s Yuvraj Singh thought he had Bell lbw on review for 17, with replays showing the ball would have hit the stumps.

Bell had started to walk off but because New Zealand umpire Billy Bowden’s verdict was not out, the decision was returned to him by Australian replay official Rod Tucker and the Kiwi deemed Bell to be too far down the pitch.

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