Dejected Dhoni laments on ‘what could have been’



NAGPUR: A dejected India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni today blamed his batsmen and quick bowlers in equal measure for the team's humiliating 1-2 series loss against England after the fourth and final Test ended in a draw here.

"I think we struggled in the batting and fast bowling but our spinners were on the mark. The difference between the two bowling sides was James Anderson, he bowled really well on all the four occasions," said Dhoni at the post match presentation ceremony."

Most of the other fast bowlers looked quite average but he was the one who tested the batsmen quite often. I think the credit goes to him, there was not much support for fast bowlers on a track like this. But apart from that, I think the batsmen have to take the responsibility of not putting enough runs on the board," he said.

England broke a 28-year-old jinx by achieving a historic Test series win on Indian soil, leaving the hosts embarrassed with a 2-1 verdict. Dhoni struggled to explain as to why plans made in the dressing room were simply falling apart on the field as England showed great character in making a comeback into the series after losing the first Test in Ahmedabad by nine wickets.
"If you are playing on tracks that turn from the very first day, then you have to be at your best because if you commit one or two mistakes, you may be the side that will have to take the pressure.

"I think they (England) handled the pressure well, they batted well in Mumbai and were well supported by Kevin Pietersen. So, I believe that a session like those really matters. Two sessions or fours hours of play can make a major difference and that's what happened in the series," said the Indian skipper.

England were 139 for five on the first day of the Nagpur Test but managed to score in excess of 300 in their first innings.

Asked where the Indian bowlers fell short, Dhoni said, "As the game progressed, we thought there was nothing much for the fast bowlers or the spinners. It was difficult to score runs but if you got your head down it was hard to take wickets."

"I think the evening of third day or the fourth day was good for spinners but on the fifth day, the wicket got better and the ball started coming on to the bat and it was easier to play strokes," he said.

Dhoni tried to harp on a few positives derived from the lost series.

"We tried a few combinations that really worked. We were playing with the four bowlers (two fast and two spinners) for quite some time but over the years what we have seen is that we had some part timers who could bowl 15-16 overs if needed which we really have lost. So that means we need to bring in someone like Jadeja into the side to keep a lid on the batsmen.

"Cheteshwar Pujara's batting was a positive, Virat Kohli's batting and attitude was good and Gautam Gambhir got back in the runs," he added.

England skipper Alastair Cook was a happy man after his side rewrote the history book and said it was a special Test series win for him.

"It's a special day and a special tour for me. After Ahmedabad, the heavy defeat, it's been a fantastic response," Cook said.

"In my first series as a captain, I couldn't have asked for more, it's a very proud moment. Our bowlers have been brilliant and all the batsman contributed. It's always nice when it goes well, can't praise the team, the squad enough, the backroom staff but also the fans, the Barmy Army and the India supporters as well," he added.

The English skipper also paid tribute to the efforts of batsmen Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell who batted off the first session to ensure the series triumph for the visitors. "It was a flat wicket to bat on but Trotty and Belly did it so calmly. We were quite surprised with the pitch at the start, how low and slow it was, but it got better," he said.

James Anderson was named man-of-the-match. He said  said all he wanted to show was that pacers can also excel in the sub-continent conditions. "People come over here and think the spinners are going to get all the wickets but I wanted to show that seamers have a job to do as well. Reverse swing played a key part and we executed our plans well. The beauty of short spells means you can give it your all and then get a rest," he said.

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