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Jan 7, 2011

India and South Africa Test Series have ended 1-1

Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni looked forward to new challenges after his side validated their ranking as the number one Test team by earning a share of the series against 2nd-ranked South Africa at Newlands on Thursday.

The third and final Test ended in a draw when play was called off eight overs early with India on 166 for three after being set to make 340 to win.

Opening batsman Gautam Gambhir guided India to safety with a careful innings of 64.

"We're happy with our performance," said MS Dhoni, pointing out that India were possibly one wicket away from being able to force a win when South Africa were reeling at 130 for six on the 4th day.

"If we could have got that one wicket we could have done something very special," he said.

Dhoni said he felt a shared series was a fair result and that his team were less concerned with the world ranking than with the process of preparing and playing well.

"Series between the top teams are very good for cricket," he said. "This year we go to England and then to Australia, so we will have played all the other top three teams."

Dhoni said there was always room for improvement. "We need to have a bigger pool of players because of the amount of games we play, especially fast bowlers, who are always likely to have injuries. It will be nice to have more fast bowlers who can do well in all conditions when we go to England and Australia."

South African captain Graeme Smith was less satisfied after India batted out the final day, scoring 166 for three after being set to make 344.

"It was a pity we couldn't close them out today but it has been a tremendous Test Series, very competitive."

But Smith acknowledged that South Africa were in trouble on the 4th day before Jacques Kallis made his second century of the match despite struggling with a side injury.

"Jacques was an inspiration to all of us in the dressing room," said Smith. "We could see how much pain he was in."

Kallis said the injury had got worse during his innings. Initially expected to be out of action for two weeks, he said he would rest for four weeks, "then start focusing on the World Cup".

The World Cup in Asia starts on February 19.

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