I love Caribbean atmosphere, conditions: Dravid

Published: Monday, April 15, 2002, 17:24 [IST]
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Georgetown (Guyana): Rahul 'The Wall' Dravid did it again. The dogged and determined Indian vice-captain frustrated West Indies' hopes after the visitors had been reduced to 275 for seven. Dravid found a cool ally in off spinner Sharandeep Singh as India can now hope for a draw with just a day remaining in the rain-hit first Test. "It was important to avoid a follow on and ensure a draw after losing three wickets. They bowled well, especially Cuffy. It was vital to occupy the crease for a long time," Dravid, 29, who struck 23 fours in his 345-ball knock, said. "I enjoy touring the Caribbean. I love the atmosphere and conditions. It's good to get a big score early in the series.

I was keen and keyed up for this tour." While Dravid maintained his reputation as one of the most successful Indian batsmen away from home, Sharandeep, who joined the team as a cover for injured off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, exceeded expectations with his gutsy knock under pressure. "All credit to Sharandeep. He showed a lot of character, courage and discipline," Dravid, who is also vice-captain, said. "It was one of my better knocks, considering the conditions. My best is 190 against New Zealand at Hamilton (in 1998-99)," he said. "It was just one of those things. I couldn't pick the delivery and just ducked into it. I was a bit jaded initially.

It wouldn't have been right to leave the field at that stage," the courageous Indian vice-captain said on the blow that he suffered from a Dillon delivery. "I took pain-killers. I thought I would bat at least till the follow on was avoided. Then the things cleared up and I continued batting. There was a responsibility on me as a senior member."

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