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England v India, 1st Test, Lord's, 5th day
Dhoni saves the day
July 23, 2007
Siddhartha Vaidyanathan chats with Ravi Shastri on a fighting partnership and other positives from the drawn match
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Siddhartha Vaidyanathan: Hello, this is Siddhartha Vaidyanathan reporting from Lord's at the end of the first Test match between India and England. Once again I have with me the former India captain - Ravi Shastri. Ravi, the weather coming to India's rescue here, one wicket in hand, but all-in-all the batsman stuck it out in the final innings?

Ravi Shastri: Well I wouldn't say they stuck it out, yes a couple did. I thought VVS Laxman and MS Dhoni were involved in a fighting partnership. It was a very responsible innings by Dhoni because it was against his natural style of batting, it was an innings against a moving ball which he is not used to playing. And in the end he helped save the game.

SV: Conditions out there in the middle weren't the best. It was chilly and gloomy, how would you rate this partnership between Laxman and Dhoni?

RS: Very good partnership under the circumstances, because they took their time early on and as they spent more time on the crease it became a lot easier. But I think from Dhoni's point of view, it was crucial. He had not made any runs in the first innings, they bowled short, but he saw through all of that and in the end started playing a few shots as well. So it just goes to show that if there was one partnership at the top of the order you never know, India could have well gone on and threatened England in this game. Kevin Pietersen is the Man of the Match for me. He played an outstanding innings in conditions which favoured the bowlers. You take a hundred runs out of his innings; you can see how close this match would have been.

SV: An abrupt end for Laxman?

RS: Yes, an abrupt end. The ball kept a bit low, but it nipped back. He'll be disappointed because once again he got a start, good opportunity for him to go on and make a big score, but I thought he did his job.

SV: India would have had their hearts in their mouth when Zaheer Khan and RP Singh got out. India need to work on their tail-end batting?

RS: Absolutely. The shot Singh played, not on! When you are trying to save the Test, Singh plays an ambitious drive. You would not have been welcome in the dressing room. A very confident appeal turned down against Sreesanth. Now seeing some of the lbw decisions given in this match, this could have been easily given.

SV: Escaping by a wicket, going to Nottingham, you think the side will receive a boost?

RS: A huge relief. First match of a series you go down, then its catch-up cricket. Now, having drawn the game, they will go to the next venue with a positive frame of mind knowing that if their batting comes good, they can put England under immense pressure. On the other hand, the England bowlers will be confident after the way the bowled here, all they'll hope for is the weather to stick around and the ball swinging.

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