Thu, Aug 02, 2007 - Page 19 News List

India shaking travel tag: Dravid

AFP , NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND

Rahul Dravid believes India are starting to shake off their tag as poor travelers after they went 1-0 up in a three-Test series against England at Trent Bridge.

India's comprehensive seven-wicket win left them on the brink of only their third series victory in England since they first toured there in 1932, with just the third Test starting on Aug. 9 to come.

Since the turn of the century, India have enjoyed success on their travels, including a victory against world No. 1 Australia.

But where they have struggled is in stringing away wins together. For example, an impressive victory against Australia at Adelaide in 2003 was followed by defeat in the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne.

And earlier this year in South Africa, India blew another 1-0 lead with a win at the Wanderers the prelude to defeats in both Durban and Cape Town.

"We've not won many games here in England or abroad, so this is something to cherish," said India captain Dravid, whose side required just 73 for victory at Trent Bridge after a superb bowling display from Zaheer Khan saw the left-arm quick return Test-best match figures of nine wickets for 134 runs.

The performance of Khan, who also bowled well in the series opener at Lord's where India clung on for a draw with one wicket standing before bad weather ended the match, evoked comparisons with now retired Pakistan left-arm quick great Wasim Akram, such was the Indian's ability to swing the ball both ways.

Dravid, while praising Khan's display, said the efforts of India's other left-arm seamer, Rudra Pratap Singh, should not be ignored.

"Zaheer was the star of our bowling. He showed what a leading bowler must do. He was well supported by RP Singh," Dravid said. "I think his critical wickets in both innings made a big impact."

Dravid also highlighted on Tuesday the role of India's unheralded opening batsmen, Dinesh Karthik and Wasim Jaffer, who put on 147 after a Khan-inspired attack bowled England out for 198.

"They set up the game for the middle-order," Dravid said.

Spin bowlers have tended to prosper at The Oval, which could see India leg-break bowler Anil Kumble come to the fore at the south London venue.

"I've always felt we've done well when we've had the opportunity to take 20 wickets," Dravid said.

England's Michael Vaughan said the opening day at Trent Bridge had been pivotal.

"We could have shown more skill and application to maybe get to 250-260 but it was very tough batting conditions on that first day," he said.

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