Rahul Dravid commends bowlers after India victory

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The Independent Online

Rahul Dravid may have powered India to a series win against New Zealand in the final Test with a superb 191-run innings, but the veteran batsman was adamant it was his side's bowling attack that led the way to a "sweet" victory.

With the last two matches ending in draws, the Nagpur Test was a must-win for both teams and India dominated with both bat and ball, with Dravid leading the way.

The 37-year-old gave ample proof yet again of why he is nicknamed 'The Wall' by his peers, facing 573 deliveries en route to his 31st Test hundred to help India to a mammoth 373-run lead in response to New Zealand's first-innings total of 193.

Dravid maintained, however, that it was the bowling efforts of Ishant Sharma (seven for 58), Shantha Sreesanth (two for 53), Harbhajan Singh (four for 115) and Pragyan Ojha (five for 124) that deserved the major credit, as India eventually bowled out the tourists on the afternoon of day four, to secure victory by an innings and 198 runs.

Dravid said: "It was nice to finish the series the way we did, especially with the result that we got. It was really sweet.

"I think the bowlers set up the game for us to be honest. We lost the toss but the bowlers bowled fantastically to restrict them to 193.

"From then on we knew that if we batted sensibly, we'd be in control of the game. We needed to bat long and big and we got a good start as usual with Viru (Virender Sehwag) and Gauti (Gautam Gambhir) and then a good partnership between Sachin (Tendulkar) and myself. (Captain Mahendra Singh) Dhoni came in and played a good positive innings as well so we set the game up quite beautifully."

Harbhajan was talked about more for his batting this series, notching up two hundreds and finishing with 315 to his name, but the off-spinner was quick to point out his disappointment in the bowling department.

"It's been a satisfying series with the bat, but I would have liked to get a few more wickets in my tally," he admitted.

"But I am happy that we have won the series."

New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori admitted the first day gave ominous signs for his team, given their inability to put up a fighting total.

He said: "The batsmen will reflect on winning the toss and batting but only reaching under 200. That puts a lot of pressure on us.

"Big first-innings scores give you a chance of winning in India and if you don't do that against a quality batting line-up, then it gives you no chance really."