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March 13, 2006
Rahul Dravid credited Anil Kumble and Munaf Patel for "setting up the game" and said although India won with five bowlers in this game, the formula might not be repeated in the next Test at Mumbai. Andrew Flintoff admitted that India were "probably too good on the day" but expressed confidence that his young side would come back strongly in the final match on March 18.
After losing a couple of days due to rain, I thought on the third evening that a draw was the most likely result. But we also knew that if we could get ahead and if we could get the spinners to exert pressure on days four and five with the ball turning and bouncing we had a chance. If we got early wickets and someone came up with a special effort, we knew there was a very good chance. Anil and Munaf set the game up for us with their bowling.
It was a critical part, the lower-order batting. At 150 for five, we had our backs to the wall. From there on, we batted really well and at a good tempo, which gave us enough time to try and bowl England out. It was as important as our bowling was in the context of the game.
On Munaf Patel:
His bowling today was fantastic. He bowled really well, he got good reverse and he put the ball in the right areas at good pace. If you are quick, accurate and can swing the ball around, you always pose problems. His three wickets in the morning set the game up for us.
On Anil Kumble:
He is a great cricketer but more importantly, he is also a fine person. He has been a huge inspiration for me right the way through, from junior cricket on to first-class cricket for Karnataka and for India. The way he has carried himself, through the ups and down, and that he is still standing there performing as well as he is doing now, is a tribute to his skills as a great cricketer. People do tend to forget that he is a great spin bowler. His quality as a person too is unmistakable. I won't swap Anil [Kumble] for anyone in any conditions.
On whether the fifth bowler was underused:
Piyush [Chawla] didn't get much of a bowl. It can happen sometimes. We are looking to get 20 wickets and looking to be positive. England showed us in the Ashes what an impact you can make when you have five specialist bowlers. If you want to obtain good consistent results, you have to be flexible and take your chances. We backed ourselves and hoped for runs from the lower order, and we got it here.
On whether India would play 5 bowlers in Mumbai:
I am not so sure if we will play five bowlers in Mumbai. It will depend on the wicket, it will depend on the number of bowlers we feel will get us 20 wickets. If it is anywhere near the one on which we played Australia, we won't need five bowlers. I think it should be a good cricket wicket, like it was when we played against South Africa in the one-dayer. We have got options in the side, we could play three spinners or three seamers, and we could use that formula. We are looking at going ahead, and that will make us a better side.
On his innings:
England have a very good attack, one of the better seam attacks I have played. To make those runs in difficult circumstances against a quality attack was extremely satisfying. It was probably one of my most satisfying knocks.
On having a bowler who can bowl toe-crushers:
We have faced a few bowlers, so it's nice to have someone who can give it back.
On whether England will still have fight left in them for the last Test :
There is a lot of fight left in them. They are a very competitive unit, a very good side. I expect them to come back hard at us. This win was not easy, the nine-wicket margin doesn't reflect the contest it was.
On Virender Sehwag being back among the runs:
Everyone scoring runs is important. It's nice to see Veeru [Virender Sehwag] back among the runs. He has been working really hard in the nets. To be fair, he got a very good ball in the first innings. When he gets going, he scores quickly as well, and that makes a lot of difference.
On his forthcoming 100th Test:
It's going to be a special occasion for me to join a lost of cricketers, some of whom were my heroes growing up. I have had the honour of playing with some of them, it is a special feeling. I never thought when I made my debut in 1996 that I will be playing for as long as I have. Hopefully, I will be in the winning side in that game!
On getting out in the 90s:
It's never nice to be dismissed in the 90s, but at the end of the day, we won a game of cricket, so it doesn't matter too much.
On the track here:
It was a very good cricket wicket. It had something for everyone, there was bounce and there was turn. The edges were carrying to the slips. And as Flintoff and Pietersen and some of our guys showed, it you are willing to stay at the wicket and play your strokes, you can score runs. Daljit Singh [curator at Mohali] really knows a lot about wickets and knows his stuff. I hope the Board utilises the knowledge of Daljit.
On whether this was a track where the two sides should have been bowled out for 300 or so:
There was some good bowling from both sides; both teams had some very good bowlers.
On his thoughts when the final day began :
Last night, losing five wickets in the final session, was crucial. It is tough to come back from that. With myself and [Geriant] Jones at the crease, we always thought we could put a few runs. Probably, [the match turned] in the first innings. If you see the scorecard, a lot of us got in but we needed one of us to go on and get a large score. We carried on fighting and scraping but in the end India were probably little bit too good on the day.
On how his team has done despite losing key members:
We have lost the captain, Ashley [Giles], Marcus [Trescothick] and [Simon] Jones, we have got a young side. I think we have done well to compete in India. Last week in Nagpur, and in this game we have shown signs we can compete with the best sides in the world. I think this is a good young side, we are showing character. We are going to Mumbai. We are going to learn from the mistakes and improve our performance.
On the performance of his bowlers:
I don't think you could have asked for anything more. The seamers ran in all day and gave it their all. It's probably the batting that let us down. Many of us got in and then got out; it would have been nice if one of us had gone on to score a big hundred and set a target. And then last night was a tricky session. It was tough with the ball bouncing and turning and [Anil] Kumble who has got 500 wickets bowling well.
On whether the team had resigned themselves to a draw when so much time was lost on the first two days:
I don't think so. The atmosphere in the dressing room was never like that. In Test cricket these days it's possible to make up a lot of time even if you lose overs because of rain like we did. All three results were still possible. We believed we could win it and in the end they won.
On whether his team was surprised by Munaf Patel's success:
He has enjoyed playing against us. He got a 10-for in Baroda and he got a 7-for here so we weren't really surprised. He bowled well and got the ball to reverse swing and bowled at a decent pace. I don't think he surprised us [after] the way he bowled in Baroda. And he is in fine form at the moment.
On whether England suffered for want of spinners:
I think we got a young spinner in Monty Panesar who is learning every day. I thought he bowled well in Baroda and bowled well here. India have got an experienced spinner who has taken 500 wickets and another one with experience in Harbhajan. Monty is learning and I'm very pleased with his progress. It is going to be tough for a young spinner to come and bowl to the likes of Sehwag, Dravid and Tendulkar.
On the spirit his team has shown:
We have shown signs in this game that we can compete with India. In Mumbai we have to go out there, stick together and rally round. This side fights hard. And every quality we have will have to come to the party next week.
On whether he was more tired in this game because of leading the side:
Obviously I have had a bit of a hectic game. But honestly I am enjoying it. I don't feel any more tired than I would be if I was just batting and bowling.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.