Thursday 6 September 2007 

Dravid Heaps Praise On The Oval Hero Uthappa

Indian captain Rahul Dravid has heaped praise on 21-year-old Robin Uthappa, who hit an unbeaten 47 to help India clinch a brilliant two-wicket victory against England at The Brit Oval and level the seven-match series at 3-3 with one game to go.

Uthappa scored his runs from 33 balls as he took India past their target of 317 with two fours in the final over.

Speaking after the match, Dravid said:

We were struggling but Robin finished it off for us. Any time you chase 300-plus is always going to be a test but the young boys set up a brilliant victory for us.

"I've never seen Robin bat at seven before. He's got a good cricketing brain. He's improving all the time and working very hard in nets.

"Watching him he's begging to be picked. The way he managed the chase was very good.

"Uthappa has not had much cricket and to play the kind of innings that he did is terrific, he's only 21 and it's a good sign for us. It was brilliant effort," Dravid added.

India trailed the series 3-1 but now have a chance of a series victory with the final match taking place at Lord's on Saturday.

"We've given ourselves a chance now," Dravid said. "We knew we had to win both these games to give ourselves a chance. But we'll have to play better at Lord's, we don't want to have to score 300 runs to win all the time."

Meanwhile, England captain Paul Collingwood was philosophical in defeat, saying:

"It was a shame to lose but congratulations to India, they played a great game.

"We didn't get off to a great start but for Luke (Wright) to change the momentum of the game as he did and for Owais (Shah) to get his first 100 was a great way to finish the first half of the match."