It was a crucial win for India: Dhoni

April 13th, 2008 - 10:21 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Harbhajan Singh
By Qaiser Mohammad Ali
Kanpur, April 13 (IANS) Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni Sunday termed India’s eight-wicket win over South Africa in the third Test as “very crucial” as it came without two important members –Anil Kumble and Sachin Tendulkar — in the side. “This was a very crucial and important win for us, especially as it came without Anil and Sachin,” Dhoni, who led India in a Test match for the first time told reporters after India’s series-levelling win at the Green Park Stadium here.

Both Tendulkar and Kumble are nursing groin injuries. While Tendulkar missed the second Test in Ahmedabad where India lost by an innings and 90 runs to trail the three-match series 0-1, Kumble was ruled out of this Test on the eve of the match.

Dhoni praised his bowlers, especially part-timer off-spinner Virender Sehwag and left-arm spinner Yuvraj Singh, for their contribution.

“Using part-timers was a deliberate ploy in the first innings. There was not much help for pacers. In India, the third-day wicket is generally like fourth day wicket; it spins a lot,” he said.

“Bhajji (Harbhajan Singh) and Viru (Sehwag) and other bowlers bowled in right areas and didn’t give any chance to batsmen to rotate the strike.”

Harbhajan took three wickets in the first innings and four in the second, and won the ‘Man of the Series’ award for capturing 19 wickets in three Tests. Sehwag, on the other hand, gave three important breakthroughs in the second innings.

Dhoni made some surprising moves as captain. He said it was easy to lead the side on a pitch that assisted bowlers.

“Mindset is important. Any ball could kick and bounce on this wicket. On tracks like this, you have to be positive and keep scoring. It was crucial the way Sourav (Ganguly) batted in first innings. The 60-run lead changed the mindset; the normal thinking is to play defensively (after conceding lead),” he said.

Ganguly scored a superb 87, for which he was adjudged the Man of the Match.

Another unconventional Dhoni move was to give the new ball to Harbhajan in the second innings.

“The new ball, we knew, will turn. With the seam there was bounce too. From one end, we kept the seamers on and from the other end spinners, so that the seamers remained fresh for the older ball for reverse swing,” he explained.

Asked about the much-talked about pitch, Dhoni said it was the home team’s prerogative to prepare wickets to its liking.

“Australia has bounce, England has swing and New Zealand has seam - and we have spin. Every place has its speciality. Credit should go to the (Indian) bowlers and the batsman the way they batted. Ishant (Sharma) and Sreesanth last wicket partnership was very important,” he said,

“Every partnership was crucial on this wicket. Since it was not a high scoring game, we could play the mind games by taking a good lead.”

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