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06 Sep 2007 11:03
India captain Rahul Dravid is targeting a series victory after his side levelled the seven-match NatWest series against England 3-3 at the Oval on Wednesday.
A week ago, India were 3-1 down, but Dravid insists his side were never downhearted. “We still felt we could win,” he said.
“At 1-3, we knew we’d lost a couple of close games that could have gone the other way.”
The sixth match was the most enthralling of a compelling series—which ends at Lord’s on Saturday—with England battling back from a poor start to post 316-6.
India then seemed to be cruising as Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly put on 150 for the first wicket, only for the momentum to tip back England’s way after a series of wickets.
Robin Uthappa, though, kept his nerve amid the chaos, scoring an unbeaten 47 to win the game with two balls to spare.
“We got a bit of the rub of the green, but we have shown a lot of resilience after a long tour,” Dravid went on.
“It should be a cracker of a game at Lord’s.”
He had particular words of praise for his much-decorated opening duo.
“When you’re chasing 320 you need to get off to a good start,” Dravid said.
“Definitely we were worried when we lost a few wickets in the middle.
“But that happens. Even after a good start you’re still chasing 6,5 runs an over.
“It’s not easy for a new batsman on a slow wicket, so you have to get runs when the ball is hard.”
Paul Collingwood habitually speaks of “taking the positives”, but on this occasion they were clearly there to be taken.
To reach 316, having been 137-5, was a remarkable effort, and the England captain paid tribute to the contributions of Owais Shah, who hit a maiden one-day international century, debutant Luke Wright, who scored 50, and Dimitri Mascarenhas, who blasted five sixes off the final over.
“We were put under a lot of pressure, but I was delighted by the way we fought back,” he said.
“Owais put in a swashbuckling effort to change the momentum of the game.”
The pendulum shifted straight back with India’s opening partnership, but England again dug deep.
“We were pegged back by the start they had,” Collingwood said. “I can’t fault any of the lads for the effort they put in.
“When games are that tight, you’ve got to look at misfields and ask if we were bowling in the right areas.
“When you see a team fighting like that it’s a great thing for a captain.”
He insisted that his side will be able to pick themselves up for Saturday’s decider.
“We have to get our heads held high because we know we’ve done good things today [Wednesday],” he said.
“We’ve got to prove we’re still playing good cricket, which we are doing.”—AFP
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