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We could have chased had the target been around 260: Dhoni

Last updated on: January 7, 2011 11:31 IST

Toss played a crucial part in the Test matches

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India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni feels that they could have thought of chasing had the target been around 260.

-Scorecard

"We were in a position where we could have been chasing 260-270, if we had got that extra wicket but were not able to. Kallis batted really well with Boucher and then Steyn also scored runs which meant we had to chase more than 300 which is very difficult," Dhoni told the reporters at the post-match press conference.

The skipper admitted that another wicket when Proteas were six down would have tilted scales in their favour.

"If we had got that wicket, we could have done something special. We tried our best but we couldn't," he said.

The Indian captain also feels that losing the toss at Centurion had a big impact on the series.

"If we had won the first toss, I think the series would have looked very different. Centurion strip is one of the flattest after the first day. It was a crucial toss to lose," he said.

"In this game, won the toss, had the advantage. It was overcast and helping the fast bowlers. But after the drizzle, we were asked to play on a wet outfield and that robbed us of advantage.

"The seam was wet and no lateral movement was available. I feel we played the first day-night Test. Must have been tough to bat but they batted really well," the skipper added.


Image: Indian players celebrate after picking up a wicket

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'Overall performance was good'

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He reasoned that kookaburra ball was also responsible for not getting wickets once it got old.

"Most of our fast bowlers are skill-oriented and rely on swing. It's not always with pace that we get batsmen out. They did a good job with the new ball but we need to slightly improve after 40 overs especially with kookaburra because there is no reverse. So we can only deceive the batsmen with sheer pace. Interesting learning experience for our young bowlers. Overall, their performance was good," Dhoni said.

The biggest positive he feels that has emerged from the series was the character they showed after going down 0-1 in the first Test.

"We came back after being 0-1 down in the series. The catching was brilliant throughout because nothing came to the slip cordon! The fielding standard was quite good. But plenty of room for improvement is there.

"Trying to improve in every game as a team. We were always confident about doing well. What was important was to get outplayed rather than play bad cricket as a team.

"It is a very special series, we saw plenty of good performances from individuals in both the batting and bowling departments," he added.


Image: Harbhajan SIngh celebrates after picking up a wicket

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'It's always good to play against South Africa'

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Asked about Virender Sehwag being off-colour in the Test series, Dhoni answered, "Everybody looks to perform and give his 100 per cent. But there is no guarantee for performance. We are not worried about the performance till attitude is right. We feel as a member of the team, he also contributed."

Enjoying the game is key to success feels Dhoni. "I enjoyed playing cricket, that's what is most important. More often, you do the same thing. Every time you get ready for a game that is filled with pressure because of the kinds of teams we play Australia, now in SA. You get mentally drained.

"But it's always good to play against South Africa. They have done really well against us. It was a good contest, feels good that we have done well as a team," he added.

Asked about the stiff competition between India, South Africa, England and Australia, he said, "Top 4 teams fighting for the spot. Just have to see it's good for international Test cricket if top three or four are very close. Next year, when we go to England, it will be among the top three sides.

It's good for Test cricket and makes it further interesting."


Image: South African players celebrate after taking an Indian wicket

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'Gambhir's innings was crucial'

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Dhoni also praised Gautam Gambhir for coming out to bat despite injury.

"We saw the Napier innings which is very special. Knew he is one guy who can do that. It was good to see him take the good heavy blows and continue. Needs plenty of courage to do that. Happy because the team really needed that and one do the individuals stepped up," he said.


Image: Gautam Gambhir plays a shot during the Test match

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