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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Dhoni rues India's inability to capitalise on close chances

Dhoni rues India's inability to capitalise on close chances

February 09, 2014 15:30 IST

'I am having mixed emotions about this Test match'

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India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni blamed poor umpiring and losing wickets off the second new ball as the main factors in India’s 40-run loss against New Zealand in the first Test in Auckland on Sunday.

Scorecard

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Match report

India lost Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma off the second new ball, on either side of the tea-break that proved costly in the final outcome of the match.

Rahane was adjudged leg-before of Trent Boult despite a big inside edge.

"I am having mixed emotions about this Test match. Close to the 85th over, we lost a few wickets at that point and at a crucial phase we had a tough decision (Rahane’s LBW), which meant we were short of 30-35 runs," Dhoni said at the post-match press conference.

Under Dhoni, India now have lost 10 out of their last 11 overseas Test matches but the skipper said that one close Test match like this serves as an experience for three to four normal Test matches.


Image: New Zealand's Neil Wagner (left) celebrates dismissing India's MS Dhoni on Sunday
Photographs: Nigel Marple/Reuters

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'We all know the importance of Kohli's wicket'

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"Tight games like these give you the experience of three-four Test matches. You learn about the need to break the target down session by session. Hopefully, there will be plenty of players in our dressing room who must have learned a lot out of it," the skipper said.

Dhoni rued India’s inability to convert close chances into winning ones.

"We have been in good positions this series -- in the ODIs also -- but we have not been able to capitalise on them. Maybe we are still learning and in the second Test we will capitalise if we get into similar situations."

That said, Dhoni defended Virat Kohli’s timing of dismissal, especially after being well set.

"We all know the importance of his (Kohli’s) wicket. It was not only his dismissal, because we also lost wickets after the 80th over as well.

"The second new ball moved for may be five or six overs. If we would have not given our wickets, we would have got those remaining 40 runs. Also, we had a bad umpiring decision at the same time. So there were quite a few things that did not go our way," Dhoni said.


Image: New Zealand's Neil Wagner (left) celebrates after dismissing India's Virat Kohli
Photographs: Nigel Marple/Reuters

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'In the second innings, our bowlers brought us back into the game'

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Dhoni however complimented his bowlers for their stupendous show in the second innings.

"In the first innings, we didn't bowl well even though we were good in the first session. The second innings was one of the best bowling performances we have had in the last two-three years especially on a wicket where there was not much assistance.

"In the second innings, our bowlers really brought us back into the game and gave us something where we could have said, ‘Yes, this is a big target, but we can look to chase it down’," Dhoni added.

The skipper admitted that India could have done better with both bat and ball in the first innings.

"In the first innings, both batting and bowling could have been better. We gave away quite a few loose deliveries in the first innings because of which we were at the receiving end. Once you get a couple of batsmen going, you can expect players to score big and you can see how Brendon McCullum scored.


Image: Mohammed Shami celebrates bowling Corey Anderson
Photographs: Phil Walter/Getty Images

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'In the second innings, he was very calm and composed'

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Dhoni said that missed catches were a factor but didn't want to put the blame squarely on fielders.

"Yes, there were a few missed catches also, but those are part and parcel of the game. Anyone and everyone can drop catches. I won't really point to that but that also contributed to the loss to some extent."

Shikhar Dhawan, who had been through a horrible run of form since the tour of South Africa, was praised by his captain for a well-made century.

"His (Dhawan) approach to the innings was very important. He is someone who should play his cricket in a free way as he loves to play his strokes. There will always be a few challenges, in the sense, opposition will have a few plans but you will have to get through it.

"In the second innings, he was very calm and composed… he batted the way it was needed, scored patiently. That was the reason he got a big hundred. Hopefully it will boost his confidence and help him keep going," said Dhoni.

Dhoni also justified the counter-attacking strategy employed by him and Ravindra Jadeja which yielded 54 runs in less than six overs.


Image: Shikhar Dhawan plays a shot
Photographs: Phil Walter/Getty Images

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'We will take plenty of confidence out of this game'

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"It was important to counter-attack at that time as the momentum was with New Zealand. The wicket was largely flat but the ball was still new and our approach was that we won't let them get on top. The field was quite attacking and we said that if we play a few big shots, we will score a few runs quickly and Jadeja and I decided to take some risk as we needed a lot of runs at the stage.

"And it paid off. We got some runs quickly. We had decided that if we get another 25-30 runs, we will change gears and settle down. But unfortunately he got out and our lower order has not contributed much for us. It is difficult for them to get runs, and it was 40 runs too many," the Indian skipper said.

India now move on to Wellington for the final match of this tour.

"We will take plenty of confidence out of this game. Our bowling in the second innings was really fantastic. When you have bowled that kind of a line and length so recently, the fast bowlers would have learned a lot out of it. It will be interesting to see what kind of wicket is provided in the next game.

"I personally like a greener wicket when we are playing outside the subcontinent as it assists our fast bowlers. They can get the opposition out which means it will be testing for our batsmen but I always prefer it that way. We will have to wait and watch," Dhoni signed off.


Image: Zaheer Khan celebrates a wicket
Photographs: Phil Walter/Getty Images

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