Dhoni praises Badrinath and Zaheer

August 21st, 2008 - 10:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Aug 21 (IANS) Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni Thursday lavished praise on debutant Subramaniam Badrinath and medium-pacer Zaheer Khan for shaping India’s three-wicket series-levelling win over hosts Sri Lanka at Dambulla.Badrinath got into the playing XI only after opener Gautam Gambhir was ruled out with a stiff neck. The 28-year-old middle order batsman walked in when India were reeling at 75 for five.

Although Badrinath’s contribution was only 27 runs, he stayed calm against the deadly spin duo of Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajanatha Mendis, who have caused quite a stir in the Indian batting throughout the series.

“He is very talented, that’s why he is here. He has performed well in the domestic circuit and has been a part of every India ‘A’ tour. This was his first game and he was under pressure, especially playing against Murali and Mendis. But I thought he negotiated them really well,” Dhoni, said after the Indian team arrived here Thursday afternoon.

“He took up the challenge and responsibility to score those runs. That was a good effort by the youngster and it’s good to have him in the side,” he added.

Dhoni and Badrinath added a crucial 60 runs for the sixth wicket. But the captain was dismissed with still eight runs needed and soon India also lost Harbhajan Singh.

Badrinath had to knock off the remaining runs, but was unruffled by the situation and took India home by scoring the winning runs.

“He (Badrinath) certainly had the pressure of scoring those runs. That will give him more confidence and more experience. You don’t have to play 100 games to get experience. The more you are in these situations, the more comfortable you are in dealing with them in future. A lapse of concentration against good bowlers will get you out,” Dhoni added.

While Badrinath’s effort made a huge difference, the man who set it up for India was left arm seamer Zaheer, who ripped through Sri Lanka’s top order by claiming four wickets in his first spell.

“The credit should go to the fast bowlers, especially bowling in tough hot and humid conditions. Zaheer particular bowled well. He has been consistent for the last four years. I have seen him bowl like this for sometime now. He is always there. He has moved way ahead, even when it comes to his fielding. Even in England he bowled really well,” Dhoni said.

“Whenever you give him the ball, he will give more than 100 percent. It’s really good to have a bowler like him,” he added.

The third ODI is scheduled for Sunday followed by matches Tuesday and the last tie on Aug 29. All games will be day night affairs and will be played at the R. Premadasa Stadium.

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