Pakistan v India, 1st Test, Multan, 5th day

'The boys can be justifiably proud' - Dravid

Dileep Premachandran in Multan

April 1, 2004

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It took India just eight minutes on the final morning to wrap up a historic first Test victory in Pakistan. Rahul Dravid - in only his second Test as captain - was a happy man at the end of it all. At the press conference, he pointed to the hard work that has gone into making this side competitive overseas:



Anil Kumble: bowled with plenty of heart on a placid pitch © Getty Images
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On how it feels to finally win a Test in Pakistan
It's a special achievement. Apart from South Africa, this was the only place where we hadn't won a Test. So the boys can be justifiably proud of what they have achieved.

On how this result could affect the rest of the series
We've won one Test, but we'll have to play good cricket to go on and win the series. I don't think the result here, or that in the one-day series, will be much of a factor in the remaining two games.

On the timing of India's declaration which deprived Sachin Tendulkar of a double-century
It's a matter that we've discussed with each other within the team. There are no differences within the team, we've sorted everything out. Those involved have got together and had a chat, and the matter's closed. I think it's important now just to concentrate on what we've achieved in this match.

The reasons for India's success
Teams aren't successful because of just one factor. The quality of the players is obviously important, as is the preparation. Also, I think we have a better overall structure now in India. The standards in domestic cricket appear to have gone up, and we've realised the importance of being more professional.

On whether the toss was critical
It's nice to win the toss, but Test matches are won as a result of four to five days of hard work on the field. What won the match for us was the opening partnership between [Virender] Sehwag and [Aakash] Chopra, that between Sehwag and Sachin, Yuvraj's strokeplay towards the end, Irfan's bowling in the first innings and Anil's in the second. The pitch played well right through the Test.

On how his bowlers performed
It was a fantastic effort from them to finish the match in just over four days. It speaks volumes about the quality of the boys in this attack. Anil [Kumble] will get much of the credit and appreciation for his spell, and rightly so, but Irfan [Pathan] and [Lakshmipathy] Balaji also stood up to be counted. Zaheer [Khan] also bowled with zip in the first innings. Obviously, Sehwag's achievement was the highlight of this match, and I was privileged to watch it, but the bowlers taking 20 wickets was just as satisfying.

On how the team coped with the absence of Sourav Ganguly, and the loss of Zaheer early on the fourth day
People with experience are not easy to replace. But as a team, you learn to adjust and cope. Yuvraj came in and did really well. And Sachin and Sehwag were able to fill in when Zaheer got injured.

On captaining the side
Two Tests is too early to comment. But I've always believed that you're only as good as the side you lead. And I've been very lucky in that sense.

On the turning points
There were many, but I think the run-out of Inzamam-ul-Haq yesterday was very important. I wouldn't say that it was the turning point, but it showed how little things can win you a Test match.

On changing the perception of India being poor travellers
We're aware that we haven't won a Test series away from home in a long time. But in the past few years, we have finally started winning Tests away from home. We know we need to improve, and we'll be satisfied only when we have that series win.

On whether India now have the psychological advantage
It's nice to win, but I don't believe in psychological advantage. A fantastic first day set us up in this game, and I hope we can start just as well at Lahore.

On whether the prospect of a green-top at Lahore is worrying
Our bowlers have won us Test matches when the tracks have suited them. I can think of Headingley [2002], Trinidad [2002] and to some extent, Adelaide [2003-04]. Our batting can hopefully cope with any sort of pitch.

On whether he was surprised by the ease of the victory
To some extent, yes. I thought it would be a hard-fought match that went on to the end of the fifth day. But Anil stuck to the task manfully yesterday, after Irfan had done his bit in the morning.

On the criticism of the placid pitch
Each place has its unique wicket, some will be flat, some will be slow. But you've had a result here, and in just over four days, so I don't understand what the complaint is.

On how he explains India's seven overseas wins in the last three years, compared to the 13 that came in the decades before that
I never saw those Tests, and wasn't part of those teams. So it would be hard for me to say if we're more motivated. It wouldn't be fair either.

On Sachin's inputs
He's spoken to us about his experiences here 14 years ago, and has guided many of the younger players. We have certainly tapped into his experience.

On how the team plans to celebrate
There will be some sort of party. The younger boys will decide. We will just follow (smiles).

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Dileep Premachandran Associate editor Dileep Premachandran gave up the joys of studying thermodynamics and strength of materials with a view to following in the footsteps of his literary heroes. Instead, he wound up at the Free Press Journal in Mumbai, writing on sport and politics before Gentleman gave him a column called Replay. A move to MyIndia.com followed, where he teamed up with Sambit Bal, and he arrived at ESPNCricinfo after having also worked for Cricket Talk and total-cricket.com. Sunil Gavaskar and Greg Chappell were his early cricketing heroes, though attempts to emulate their silken touch had hideous results. He considers himself obscenely fortunate to have watched live the two greatest comebacks in sporting history - India against invincible Australia at the Eden Gardens in 2001, and Liverpool's inc-RED-ible resurrection in the 2005 Champions' League final. He lives in Bangalore with his wife, who remains astonishingly tolerant of his sporting obsessions.
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Teams: India | Pakistan
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Pakistan v India at Lahore - Mar 24, 2004
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