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After Durban, nothing less than a series win will do

cricket Updated: Dec 31, 2010 01:02 IST
Subhash Rajta
Subhash Rajta
Hindustan Times
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The hugs were tight, the pats came thick and fast, and the stumps spiked the air furiously. The celebration was obvious, but it lacked the exuberance expected after a victory as historic as this.

"We are very proud of this win, but not as excited as we were when we won the Test at Johannesburg in 2006. The goal this time is to win the series," said VVS Laxman, giving out the reason behind the team's matured response.

The disclosure reflects the resolute mindset of the players. An occasional win overseas will not do, they now want to dominate like the No. 1 team is expected to do, and make winning a habit. No wonder no one's even comparing Durban to the best overseas wins in the last decade, starting with Headingley, Adelaide, Multan, Jamica, Johannesburg, Nottingham and Perth.

"You can't compare wins. Every victory is special and it's difficult to rate them. But having said that, it's indeed a special win and we need to celebrate it," said Rahul Dravid.

While there are several reasons that have brought this team to where it stands, the congenial atmosphere in the dressing room has to be among the most important. Laxman was the first to admit it. "This is the best-ever dressing room I have experienced. We are all like family and enjoy each other's success. With no negativity around, it encourages everyone to perform."

In the wake of a heady win as this, the team, to its credit, is focussed at the larger goal - winning Cape Town and the series. "South Africa are a superb side and they are going to come hard at us. We need to be at our best," said Dravid.

South Africa will put in all they have in the last Test, but this India side will be a hard nut to crack.

Sehwag rested for ODIs
Virender Sehwag will not be a part of the ODI squad that will take on South Africa after the Test series. The opener has been rested owing to a shoulder injury that has been troubling him for almost two years.

Sehwag would, however, be available for the third Test. Rohit Sharma has been named his replacement for the ODIs.

Meanwhile, VVS Laxman said his back was fine and he would be ready for the final Test. Gautam Gambhir, another worry, too appears to have recovered from the finger injury.