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'Close to that Ashes win'

England coach Duncan Fletcher said levelling the Test series with five of their first-choice players missing was almost as big as winning the Ashes.

india Updated: Mar 22, 2006 23:14 IST

England coach Duncan Fletcheron Wednesdaysaid levelling the Test series in India with five of their first-choice players missing was almost as big as winning the Ashes.

"It's a huge, huge achievement. It's close to that Ashes win," he said after England handed a 212-run drubbing to India in the third and final Test to square the series 1-1.

"To draw 1-1 with India on any occasion would have been great. To have won in India would have been as good as beating Australia in England.

"But it's right up there. With four, five of six guys missing it's a tremendous achievement," he was quoted as saying by BBC.

"To come to India and draw 1-1 with such a formidable side was a great effort for our lads.

"Early on in the tour things were quite tough. The lads who came in and made debuts, with not much experience, have taken the bull by the horns."

To the credit of the English side, who were without five of their key players in the match, they registered their first Test win on Indian soil in 21 years to ensure honour was restored in the three-Test rubber.

England and India will next play a series of seven one-day matches beginning with the first in New Delhi on March 28.