Proud Dravid elated with series win over England

Published: Tuesday, August 14, 2007, 1:25 [IST]
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LONDON : India captain Rahul Dravid said winning a Test series in England ranked as one of his career highlights after his side completed a 1-0 success with a draw in the third and final Test at The Oval here on Monday.

England, set 500 to win, a target way in excess of the Test record fourth innings winning score of 418 for seven made by the West Indies against Australia in Antigua in 2003, finished on 369 for six and were never really in the hunt for an upset despite a century from Kevin Pietersen.

India, who clung on for a draw in the series opener at Lord's, where bad weather came to their aid when they had just one wicket standing, won the second Test at Trent Bridge by seven wickets and were in control at The Oval after a first innings 664 - their record Test score against England.

Dravid became the first India captain since Kapil Dev in 1986 and only the third overall following Ajit Wadekar in 1971, to lead his country to a Test series win in England.

He said: "It's just the third time in all the years we've toured this country we've managed to pull off a Test series win. I couldn't have been prouder as a captain of having led a very fine team.

"I think it's a fair result: England dominated the first Test match, we dominated the next two.

"We played some better cricket in the critical moments. To beat England at home, where they've been traditionally so strong over the last six years, gives us a lot of satisfaction."

Dravid was likely to be making his last tour of England, along with Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Sourav Ganguly and man-of-the-match Anil Kumble, whose first innings 110 not was his maiden Test hundred.

Openers Dinesh Karthik and Wasim Jaffer repeatedly saw the team off to solid starts while left-arm quicks Zaheer Khan and RP Singh consistently troubled England's batsmen.

"The contribututions from everyone, that's what really pleased me right through the series," said Dravid. "Everyone's chipped in, everyone's played a part. The bowlers have really come through for us and the batsmen have come through in critical moments."

England captain Michael Vaughan, without the injured pace bowling trio of Matthew Hoggard, Stephen Harmison and Andrew Flintoff, had no complaints as his team surrendered a six-year unbeaten run in home Test series.

"In a three-match series, it is the team that plays the better cricket which usually wins - and I guess the way India played over the last two games meant they were worth it," he said.

Pietersen's hundred, his 10th in 30 Tests, was his second of the series and the South Africa born batsman was happy to have reached another landmark in his soaring career.

"Someone needed to come out today and bat for a long time," said Pietersen.

"A few of us did that; it was a great team effort. To get to double figures in hundreds is pretty satisfying. But I want a lot more, so I will keep working hard," the South Africa-born Pietersen added.

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