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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 March 2006, 09:11 GMT
England feat 'close to Ashes win'
Andrew Flintoff and Duncan Fletcher were jubilant after England's triumph
Flintoff and Fletcher were jubilant after England's stunning triumph
England coach Duncan Fletcher believes tying a Test series in India with five first-choice players missing is almost as big as winning the Ashes.

"It's a huge, huge achievement. It's close to that Ashes win," he said.

"To draw 1-1 with India on any occasion would have been great. To have won in India would have been as good as beating Australia in England.

"But it's right up there. With four, five of six guys missing it's a tremendous achievement."

England's victory kept them just above India in second place in the ICC world rankings behind Australia, who they visit next November.

Captain Andrew Flintoff hit two fifties and took four wickets to be named man of the match and also took the man of the series award.

"To come to India and draw 1-1 with such a formidable side was a great effort for our lads," he said.

"Early on in the tour things were quite tough. The lads who came in and made debuts, with not much experience, have taken the bull by the horns."

Flintoff revealed that a blast of country music during the lunch break was behind England's inspired display of seven wickets for 25 runs.

"We went in the dressing-room, had our lunch then played a bit of Johnny Cash, Ring of Fire," he said.

"It got the lads going and we came out afterwards with a spring in our step."

I've got three children at home - I just timed the wickets before they went to school so they could watch
Shaun Udal

Matthew Hoggard admitted: "I'm the only guy that's sad enough to have Johnny Cash on his iPod. We had a rousing rendition and that seemed to do the trick."

He added: "We have a great backroom staff. Duncan Fletcher sits down and works out a lot of plans and we've bowled to the plans this tour.

"It's been a good test of our skill and character on the flat wickets."

Shaun Udal planned a big celebration after dismissing Sachin Tendulkar in figures of 4-14.

Spinner Udal was keen to repay the faith shown by the selectors after they offered him a Test debut in Pakistan last year at the age of 37 but knew time was running out.

After a disappointing first innings showing, he said: "I was down in the dumps - I knew this could have been my last chance. I felt I was letting people down.

"To get the wicket of Sachin is always a great pleasure and to get him bat-pad on a turning wicket is a great joy.

"I've got three children at home. I just timed the wickets before they went to school so they could watch."


WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: England captain Andrew Flintoff



SEE ALSO
England beat India to tie series
22 Mar 06 |  England
India v England photos
22 Mar 06 |  Photo Galleries
Full scorecard
16 Mar 06 |  Cricket
England in India 2006
25 Feb 06 |  Future tour dates


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