Dravid predicts a close series

The skipper said that Indians would strive to bounce back with an improved performance.

india Updated: Nov 18, 2005 15:17 IST

Skipper Rahul Dravid said on Thursday that the Indian team would strive to bounce back in the second ODI against South Africa on Saturday with an improved performance and predicted a close series against the Proteas.

"Yes, we have got to come back strongly and play good cricket," Dravid told reporters.

"I thought, we did well in the last game (first ODI against South Africa).The boys showed a lot of character and courage to fight back.I am very satisfied. We can take heart from that. If we do a few things, we will end up with better result."

India lost the first ODI to the tourists by five wickets at Hyderabad on Wednesday. The home team were 35 for five before Yuvraj Singh, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh and Ajit Agarkar helped them score a respectable 249.

Giving credit to the visitors for the win, Dravid said: "They played well. No doubt about that. They started well. They are a good team. We have no illusions about that. We are also playing some good cricket, and we are confident that if we can do a few things right, then we will be very competitive in the series.I predict that it's going to be a close series."

The team was looking to improve its batting in the first 15 overs of the match and also cut down on the number of extras, he said.

Asked about the extras conceded in the first game -- India conceded 24 in Hyderabad, he said India had a very good series against Sri Lanka -- which it won 6-1 -- and did not concede too many extras."I don't think it's a problem."

Dravid emphasised that it was important to try and keep winning.

"More important is to do the right things, get your process right and get the preparations right.

"You can sometimes win without actually preparing well. But if you prepare well, you will be more consistent. We are focusing on that and hopefully, we should do well," said Dravid.

Dravid gave credit to the visitors for the win saying "they played well, no doubt about that. They started well. They are a good team. We have no illusions about that."

"We are also playing some good cricket, and we are confident that if we can do a few things right, then we will be very competitive in the series. I predict that it's going to be a close series."

First Published: Nov 17, 2005 18:53 IST