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Dravid defends shutting shop

Source: PTI
June 27, 2006 15:05 IST
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Indian captain Rahul Dravid defended his team's decision to down the shutters in the final session of the third Test rather than go for a rare overseas victory, saying the task at hand was improbable.

"History shows that over four-and-half runs on the final day has never been done. We had a good start and we looked like having a whiff in the afternoon. But the ball was old and a bit soft and after Dhoni got out, we played for a draw," Dravid said after India briefly toyed and then abandoned the dramatic bid.

"It wasn't the kind of wicket where you could go and smash every ball. I don't think smashing every ball would have been prudent as well," the skipper said.

India had promoted wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni in order to push on with the scoring. The whiff was real as the equation was 149 runs from 25 overs with seven wickets in hand.

But Dhoni, after starting with a six, then appeared to play conservatively.

"It was a kind of wicket where there were certain shots you couldn't play. The West Indian captain realised it quickly and instructed his bowlers to bowl wide off the off-stump.

"When you pitched short, it was keeping low. If the ball was short, you didn't get much pace off the square cut. Once the ball comes on to the bat, you can use the angle, use pace and get runs square off the wicket," Dravid said.

The Indian captain did not agree with his West Indian counterpart Brian Lara's assertion that the home side held the psychological advantage over India.

"I am not sure if that is true. Going into tea, it was our team which was sniffing a victory," Dravid said.

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He admitted that his side was on the backfoot after early wickets on the fourth morning but claimed there was still a quiet sense of confidence among the players.

"You definitely are on the backfoot (when you lose quick wickets). But the wicket was good and it wouldn't have been easy to get us out twice," Dravid said.

The Indian skipper was not surprised that Lara did not choose to enforce the follow-on on the fourth afternoon.

"Once we batted for one and half hours in the afternoon, we were more or less sure they would bat," he said.

Dravid defended the selection of S Sreesanth ahead of VRV Singh and also stood by Yuvraj Singh who is having a lean series so far.

"Yuvraj has been our best player this season. Like VVS Laxman has come good in this game, I am sure Yuvraj too would come into his own in the last game.

"Sree has been one of our better Test bowlers. Munaf hits the deck hard while Sreesanth pitches up and swings it. It adds a bit of variety," Dravid added.

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