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India's captain praises Kiwi batsmen

Stand-in India skipper Rahul Dravid on Monday lauded New Zealand for drawing a two-Test cricket series, saying the visiting batsmen adapted better to the conditions.

india Updated: Oct 21, 2003 11:31 IST

Stand-in India skipper Rahul Dravid on Monday lauded New Zealand for drawing a two-Test cricket series, saying the visiting batsmen adapted better to the conditions.

"All credit to New Zealand. They had the best of the conditions to bat on and they did really well," Dravid said after the drawn second and final Test.

New Zealand posted a massive 630-6 declared in their first innings after winning the toss with Mark Richardson, Lou Vincent, Scott Styris and Craig McMillan scoring centuries.

India made 424 in their first innings and 136-4 in the second after following on.

The first Test had also ended in a draw.

"The series was a bit tough as the pitches were probably not the best," said Dravid, who led India for the first time in a Test match in the absence of an unfit Sourav Ganguly.

"I am in favour of a three-Test series. This is probably the first time since I started playing for India that we have not had a result in a home Test series," the Indian captain said.

"Most teams prepare tracks to suit their strength and we must have pitches with bounce and turn, like the ones we had when Australia came here two years ago."

India won that three-Test series against Australia 2-1 after losing the opening match.

Dravid said he was disappointed that his team was not able to force a victory in the short series against New Zealand. This was the first time in three years that India had failed to win a home Test series.

"Our goal was to win the series. It's a disappointing that we failed to achieve it," he said.

Dravid defended his team's slow batting on Sunday when the hosts scored just 187 runs in 90 overs.

"The game situation required that," he said. "We were trying to avoid a follow-on. Venkatsai Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar are good stroke-makers, but they also could not get going on such a pitch."

The Indian skipper was all praise for Laxman, who scored an unbeaten 104 in the first innings and 67 not out in the second.

"Both of his knocks were very important from the team's point of view as they came under pressure. He has terrific ability," he said.

New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming said winning the toss was one of the reasons for his team's impressive performance.

"It (the toss) gave us some advantage, but we batted very well. It was a good series. They dominated us in the first Test and we dominated them in the second," said Fleming.

New Zealand fast bowler Daryl Tuffey, who took seven wickets in the match, said he was happy with his performance against a strong Indian batting line-up.

"To get seven wickets on a flat wicket against a good batting line-up was very pleasing," said Tuffey, named man of the match for his splendid show.

"No doubt, we came here to win. We were looking forward to creating history and the draw was a fallback option. Every player is taking back something from the tour."

New Zealand were in search of their maiden Test series win in India.

First Published: Oct 21, 2003 11:31 IST