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1st Test: Dhoni reveals how India lost the plot

Last updated on: February 11, 2014 15:04 IST

1st Test: Dhoni reveals how India lost the plot

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Was it poor batting or bad bowling that cost India the 1st Test against New Zealand on Sunday? The Indian captain puts the result in perspective.

India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni praised his bowling attack for bringing India back into the game, but rued unlucky dismissals in the second innings as India went down by 40 runs to New Zealand in the first Test in Auckland on Sunday.

- Scorecard

- Match Photos

- Match report

Neil Wagner captured four wickets at crucial times as New Zealand held off a counter-attacking India at EdenP ark after tea on the fourth day.

India had looked favourites to win the match for much of the day before Wagner dismissed Virat Kohli (67) and Shikhar Dhawan (115) after lunch, then removed Zaheer Khan (17) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (39) in the evening session when the tourists were in sight of the 407 runs needed for victory.

India, who were eventually dismissed for 366, were skittled out for 202 in the first innings, a deficit of 301 runs, but fought back brilliantly with the ball to give themselves a fighting chance of achieving an unlikely victory.

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Image: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni leads his team back to the dressing room after losing the first Test to New Zealand at Eden Park in Auckland on Sunday, February 9, 2014.
Photographs: Nigel Marple/Reuters

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'Ajinkya's decision was a tough one at a very crucial time'

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Dhoni, the architect of a bludgeoning counter-attack after his side had been reduced to 270 for six after tea, said, "The bowlers bowled fantastically well to get us back. One of the best spells that I have seen our bowlers bowl, especially on a good wicket. They kept it tight and bowled wicket-taking deliveries at the same time. They need to continue doing that," Dhoni said at the post match presentation.

"I don't think we batted really well in the first innings. In the second innings, quite a few of our batsmen batted really well. We had a few unlucky wickets. Ajinkya's decision was a tough one at a very crucial time," the skipper said.

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Image: Ajinkya Rahane departs after being trapped lbw by Trent Boult.
Photographs: Phil Walter/Getty Images

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'Wagner deserved his wickets, he turned this game'

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"I'm absolutely out of breath. That was a long hard toil of Test cricket, but it's an amazing feeling, one of the best feelings of my career," Wagner said in a televised interview.

"I'm overjoyed, overwhelmed. I'm also a bit shagged to be honest."

"The boys kept running in and you can see what this means to them as a unit. They toiled hard all day and it's a great feeling."

New Zealand Captain Brendon McCullum was delighted to see his bowlers come up trumps.

"They acquitted themselves immensely well in that second innings and put us under an immense amount of pressure. Definitely, there were nervous times. Neil Wagner's spell epitomised everything that is going well with the side. It was a great Test to be part of, one that we will remember. We had to overcome tough periods when batting," McCullum said.

"Neil (Wagner) is brilliant. He never wants an opportunity to pass him by. His role is to bowl a lot of overs -- hostile overs. That gives Tim (Southee) and Trent (Boult) opportunity to attack. He hasn't had a lot of luck in the last 12 or 18 months in terms of getting wickets, but he thoroughly deserved his wickets today. He has turned this game," McCullum added.

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Image: Neil Wagner celebrates after dismissing Zaheer Khan on Sunday.
Photographs: Nigel Marple/Reuters

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'To get a Test victory over this India team is no small achievement'

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McCullum, the Man of the Match for his 224 in the first innings, said, "It is one of my best innings in a New Zealand shirt. I am delighted to make a significant contribution. A lot of credit must go to those who formed partnerships with me. A Test victory over this Indian team is no small achievement," he said.

He defended his decision to not enforce the follow-on after having a huge first innings lead.

"After not enforcing the follow-on, we didn't play well, but their bowling was exceptional too. We would have loved to have a few more in the bank. Everyone has got their own opinion (on not enforcing the follow-on). You have to make that decision. You live and die by that decision. Thankfully, we are living by it," McCullum said.

"You have to continually back your instincts, get as much information as you can from your bowlers and your senior players, but at the end you have to be the one who makes the decision. When they were sitting 220 for two or three, the decision wasn't looking so good, but we still managed to hang in there."

"To get a Test victory over this India team is no small achievement... and one we will certainly remember for a long time," he added.


Image: Brendon McCullum celebrates his century in Auckland on Thursday.
Photographs: Phil Walter/Getty Images

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