Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni hailed the crucial partnership between Stuart Binny and Bhuvneshwar Kumar as the first Investec Test match ended in a draw.

After reducing the Indians to 249-7 on the final day, a lead of just 210, the hosts would have been hopeful of securing a result.

However, Binny and Kumar shared in a stand of 91 to avert a potential crisis and guide their side to 391-9 declared before the players shook hands.

And Dhoni believes that without the pairs batting efforts, his side could have ended the day on the losing side.

“Their partnership was very important in the context of the game as at that point we weren't really safe,” Dhoni said.

“If we had lost quick wickets at that stage, with the time that was left in the day, we might have struggled to defend the lead we had on the board.”

A declaration never looked on the cards with India seeming content to keep the England bowlers in the field for as long as possible.

“The partnership today was obviously a highlight as not many of our players have been in that position where they are potentially batting to save a Test match,” he said.

“Murali Vijay batted really well in the first innings and he was supported by other members of the batting unit on the way to setting up that total.

“As for the bowlers, it is hard to criticise them as they did not get a lot of help, but I thought the way they bowled for the 145 overs was brilliant.

“What is really important is for Test players to improve over time. A lot of individuals take time to get used to different conditions.

“The development of our team over the past year has been brilliant and I think we have improved a lot but still have a long way to go.”

Looking ahead to Lord’s, Dhoni said that the side might employ similar tactics in playing an extra bowler and the captain himself occupying the number six slot.

“I don’t remember the last time we went with five bowlers but I was happy with having Jadeja to exploit the rough patches,” Dhoni said.

“The conditions didn’t really suit Binny but I was happy with his efforts which gave some of the other bowlers a rest.

“As to whether we keep the five bowler tactic, a lot will depend on how the batsmen deal with the extra pressure.”