150 more runs would be good for India: Dravid

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/d/dravid_nz.jpg' class='caption'> India's veteran batsman Rahul Dravid reckons that a first innings lead of 150 runs against New Zealand in the first Test will be a &quot;fantastic mark&quot;.

Updated: March 19, 2009 08:27 IST
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India's veteran batsman Rahul Dravid reckons that a first innings lead of 150 runs against New Zealand in the first Test will be a "fantastic mark" for the team on a difficult track.

"More the merrier. I don't think there is a number in place at this stage. The wicket is going to remain the same right through and it is not easy to score runs against a harder and newer ball," Dravid told reporters after the second day's play which India ended at 278 for 4.

"If we can get 150 ahead it would be fantastic. But we need to do the basics right and not worry about the runs. We need to get through that new ball tomorrow," he added.

Dravid, who was among runs in a Test after a long time, said Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh would have to do the job for the visitors.

"Sachin and Yuvi have a job to do for us," he said. Though India struggled to work the ball off the pitch, Dravid, who carved a classy 66, was pleased with the day's performance.

"In terms of runs we did quite well. It was a hard-fought day. There was something in the wicket right through. They pitched the ball in the right areas. We are pretty happy with the score since there is a lot of time left in the Test match," said Dravid.

But Dravid admitted it would have been happier scenario if India had lost one wicket less at the end of the day.

"Four wickets down means that we are slightly with our noses ahead. Sachin is still batting really well. Yuvi, Dhoni and the lower order can bat. Probably, we may have liked to have lost one less wicket. It would have been an ideal scenario for us.

"But we are happy with the position. Hopefully, we can build on it tomorrow. The first session is going to be critical. If we bat well in that period and build a lead we are hopeful that we can put the pressure on them in the third innings."

The 36-year-old batsman felt there was something in the wicket for the bowlers to exploit.

"There was something in it for the bowlers right through the day. The ball kept swinging a little bit. As they were bowling in areas it was not easy to drive. It kept the bowlers interested.

"Even when you are batting right, you always felt that you were never really in.

"It was one of those wickets when you felt that you were not totally in control.. We had to work hard for our runs. We're glad we did that and saw through some difficult periods. There was some quality batting as well. Gautam batted very well upfront and Sachin played really well towards the end to get us to a good position. We hope to capitalise on that."

Dravid was also happy with his form. "I felt good today. My feet really moved well and I got into right positions through the day. I was scoring at fairly decent clip. But I got a pretty good one at that stage. Even after 60-65 overs, the ball was still seaming a little bit.

"Overall, I am quite satisfied. But it would have been nice to go on and get a big score. It would have helped the team had I probably been not out at the end of the day. That would have been great. But I felt good the way my balance and body was, and the way my feet were moving today," said Dravid, who notched his 54th half century in 132 Tests.

Talking about the wicket he had made 190 and 103 not out in 1998-99 here, Dravid said "It was a long time ago. Even in 1998, I remember the wicket started off the way it did on Wednesday but settled down to become a very good batting wicket as the Test went on.

"In 2003, the wicket seamed a lot when 150 was a good score. This one has been a good, even wicket. There is something in it for the bowlers. And if the batsmen play well, you can still score runs, like Jesse (Ryder) and Dan (Vettori) showed on Wednesday and some of us showed in our innings," he added.

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