M.S. Dhoni said he was happy to have led India to its first drawn series in South Africa, but added that his team, during various stages of the engagement, was poised to achieve greater things.

“We were in a position where we could have done something really special,” said the Indian captain. “It could have been the first day of the first Test or yesterday (Wednesday) if we had got one more wicket quickly.”

“If we had won the first toss, I think the series would have looked very different. Here, we could have been chasing 260-270 if we had got that extra wicket, but were not able to. That might have been a stiff target to chase but we would have fancied our chances. At least one side would have won. I'm quite happy, not really disappointed,” said Dhoni.

Dhoni praised Gautam Gambhir for his match-saving innings, constructed under pressure and despite an injury, and congratulated his team-mates for their efforts in a hard-fought series.

Kirsten's future

On Gary Kirsten, for whom this could be the last Test as India coach (his contract ends with the World Cup), Dhoni said: “We have had some fantastic times with him. I don't know if this is his last Test as India coach, but every member loves him and acknowledges and respects the amount of time and devotion that he has given Indian cricket.”

South African captain Graeme Smith admitted that it was disappointing to go a third straight home series without success. “But, at 130 for six yesterday, with our backs to the walls, we did well to get in a position to win,” he said.

“We've slipped up in home series, mostly in Durban, but this has been a great, exciting series. The way the crowds have responded shows that.”


Gambhir and Dravid take India to a drawJanuary 6, 2011

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