'We are proud of the way we played'
"With three debutants, we competed with one of the best teams for 5 days," said Freddie.india Updated: Mar 06, 2006 15:04 IST
England captain Andrew Flintoffsaid his team was not unnerved by the late assault launched by India before the first Test ended in a thrilling draw.
"It (India's charge) was explosive. But we knew it would have required some effort from them to chase the total that we had set," Flintoff said at the end of final day's play at the VCA stadium.
India, set a daunting target of 368 in three sessions, produced a last lap kick after tea with Irfan Pathan and Mahendra Singh Dhoni leading the charge before the two teams agreed to a draw with 108 runs required for an home win from over 11 overs.
Flintoff led the side in the absence of skipper Michael Vaughan and his deputy Marcus Trescothick who both flew back home due to an injury and personal reasons respectively.
"The team showed lot of character. We are proud of the way we performed. With three debutants in the team, we competed with one of the best teams for five days," the 28-year old all-rounder said.
Flintoff said it was right arm pacer Matthew Hoggard with 6-57 in the first innings who put England in control.
"Hoggy bowled us into the match. He showed control and discipline on a wicket that was not conducive for pace bowling."
Among the debutants, Alastair Cook, 21-year old opener, and left-arm-spinner Monty Panesar, also the first Sikh to play for England, received special praise from Flintoff.
"To get 60 and 100 (in two innings) against the two best spinners in the world says a lot about Cook.
"Panesar bowled well. He was excited by the way the crowd egged him on whenever he came on to bowl."