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Rahul Dravid defends experimentation

Citing the example of Robin Uthappa, who made a 41-ball 70, the skipper justifies making changes to the eleven.
None | By Press Trust of India, Chennai
UPDATED ON JAN 28, 2007 01:51 PM IST

Notwithstanding the three-wicket loss, skipper Rahul Dravid defended India's expermintation in the third cricket one-dayer against the West Indies in Chennai on Sunday.

India made five changes to the team that won the previous match at Cuttack for a 2-0 lead in the four-match series, only to allow the visitors close the gap with a comfortable win in the day-night clash at M A Chidambaram stadium.

Dravid cited the example of 21-year old opener Robin Uthappa, who made a 41-ball 70, in justifying India making wholesale changes to the eleven.

"Uthappa played a great innings. We are giving some opportunities to these guys and they are using it. I hope he continues to play like that," the captain said after the match.

"We are doing some experiments going into the World Cup and trying out a few options."

Dravid agreed that the Indian total was way below what the true Chepauk pitch was worth.

"We were not a few runs short. We needed 330 on this track. This was a very good batting track," he said.

"We got a good start but lost wickets at the end. It was a collapse, 320-330 would have been a competitive score."

India began strongly to put up 232 for three in 35 overs, but were all out for 268 in 48 overs.

The Windies overhauled the target comfortably with more than six overs to spare.

Asked about playing only four bowlers, Dravid said, "we can look it the either way because it was a good track and we had an extra batsman so we should have scored more runs."

"Brian (Lara) played very well and we needed early wickets to defend this total."

Lara said his team needed the come from behind win.

"It was a commendable win, especially the guys pulled it around after we gave 200 runs in 29 overs," Lara, who made 83 off 87 balls, said.

"We win very comfortably and also loose very comfortably, so it was important to fight with our backs to the wall.

"The Baroda match (on Jan 31) will be the last before the World Cup. So we are looking forward to it."

Marlon Samuels, who made a 95-ball 98, said, "it was a very positive win and I am very pleased. I just wanted to keep my head down and continue playing."

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