Dejected Dhoni still hopes of turnaround
Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni blamed the initial profligacy of his bowlers for the three-wicket loss to England in the third ODI but remained hopeful of what now seems like a miracle turnaround in the last two games of the series.
"The first 10 overs were crucial. We gave away too many runs. Otherwise spinners would have had a few more runs to play with," said Dhoni after Friday's three-wicket loss.
"It's not the first time it has happened to us. There was a phase when we suffered from the same malaise. If the rivals have to chase more than six runs per over, it becomes difficult for them but we gave away too many runs upfront," Dhoni said.
The Indian captain, however, maintained that the morale of his side hasn't gone down despite drawing blank in the England summer thus far.
"The boys are excited. They want to give more than 100 per cent. When it comes to motivational factor, we are not down and out. Luck at times hasn't been with us but the morale is high," he said.
Image: MS Dhoni during a practice session
Photographs: Getty Images
Top order needs to perform
Dhoni didn't blame the weather for his team's defeat although he did say the spinners got less turn after the interruption.
"It was a mixed thing. It gave an advantage that England had only 15 runs less to chase. The disadvantage was that the ball became wet and it affected the turn for the spinners. The fast bowlers were handicapped too as the ball was coming nicely on the bat," he said.
Dhoni himself and man-of-match Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin batted well but the Indian skipper lamented the lack of runs from the top order.
"In our innings, only lower order made runs. As a team, we need to click together. I thought we were 30-40 runs short. We were not able to put par score on the board. The first spell by England bowlers was very good," he said.
Image: Parthiv Patel is clean bowled
'Jadeja batted brilliantly'
On the positive side, the display of Jadeja and Ashwin drew wholesome praise from the Indian captain.
"Jadeja batted brilliantly. His bowling was always up to the mark. It was his batting which was a concern. He has shown improvement. He showed it in IPL where he could face fast bowlers and yet play big shots. Overall, he looks more complete right now."
"When Jadeja was dropped, at that time we had Yuvraj Singh who was also bowling left-arm spin. We also had Yusuf Pathan who was a big hitter.
"Ashwin is a thinking cricketer. This was a game where he could show his talent. It was turning a bit and I think he bowled in the right areas. He loves to compete on the field all the time and it's important," Dhoni said.
Image: Ravindra Jadeja
Jadeja made 78 from 89 balls and also picked up two wickets which made him an obvious choice for the man-of-the match award. Ashwin made 36 off 19 balls and picked up three wickets.
Another positive which Dhoni mentioned was that he could bowl with five bowlers.
"Finally, it looks as if we have five bowlers. We have been struggling in this department. If somebody has an off day, in that case you have five specialist bowlers. Then you can also bring in part-timers," Dhoni said.
Having a young side at his command, there is a feeling that Dhoni could bat up the order.
"If I bat up the order, it puts more pressure on younger batsmen lower down the order. When I am at number five or six, I can maneuver with the lower half. You need somebody who can chat with the youngsters in the middle and bring in a sense of calmness. Having an experienced man down the order really helps," he explained.
Image: Ravi Bopara is stumped by MS Dhoni