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'It wasn't a 100 all out wicket'

By Harish Kotian in Mumbai
March 22, 2006 18:52 IST
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They wanted to present him a victory in his 100th Test. Instead, all the captain got was a hundred all out!

After the crushing 212-run loss in the third Test to England in Mumbai on Wednesday, Rahul Dravid conceded that the decision to field first was wrong.

"The decision to field first wasn't the right one; but then we could have lost the toss and would have fielded first anyways," he said.

Chasing 313 for victory, India capitulated to a lowly 100 all out in their second innings, allowing England to draw the three-Test series at 1-1.

Except for Sachin Tendulkar (34), Yuvraj Singh (12) and Wasim Jaffer (10), none of the Indian batsmen crossed double figures.

"We could have played better cricket, especially our batting. I think our batting, especially the top order, has let us down right through the series.

"We did well to recover and post 279 in the first innings, but then failed in the second innings. I don't think it was a 100 all out wicket," he said.

It was tame surrender by the Indians after lunch as they lost their last six wickets for 25 runs.

"It was bizarre. We batted really poorly after lunch. But credit to England; they kept the pressure on us throughout the match," Dravid said.

Talking about the many dropped catches by his boys, Dravid said, "We had men fielding in unfamiliar positions after the regulars left the scene. We did not have specialists; we did not hold on to the catches. If they had been taken then the situation would have been definitely better. We need to perform better in catching."

India's close-in catching in the Test and Mahendra Singh Dhoni 'keeping also came under fire.

"We need to pick players not merely by looking at their batting and bowling abilities but also their fielding," Dravid added.

Defending his batsmen after some of them threw they wickets, he said things like that "happen under pressure".

He also defended his decision to go into the match with five bowlers.

"Other teams go in with five bowlers. We have to use this option if we have to win abroad. But for this we need our top order to perform better and some of our lower order players to develop into all-rounders."

England skipper Andrew Flintoff, who was named man of the match as well as the series, cam in for high praise.

"He was terrific. He was the best bowler on view in the series. To bat, bowl and also lead the team is not easy. That's why he's the greatest all-rounder in world cricket at the moment," declared Dravid.

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Harish Kotian in Mumbai

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