Uthappa still has to work for top-order berth: Dhoni

February 24th, 2008 - 8:22 pm ICT by admin  

Sydney, Feb 24 (IANS) Robin Uthappa’s fighting half-century might have taken India close to victory against Australia in the One-Day International here Sunday, but skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni feels he will have to play a few more such knocks to stake his claim for a top-order berth. Dhoni’s decision to send Uthappa lower down the order has often been criticized. In some matches the skipper has even sent Irfan Pathan at three down with Uthappa coming in as the seventh and last recognized batsmen.

Dhoni, however, praised Uthappa’s 46-ball 51 and said some good scores by the top-order batsmen might have won them the match.

“He (Robin) is special and in the past also he has played some good knocks. He is bit unorthodox and aggressive. He has played a fine innings today. He will have to play a few more innings like that so that I can afford to send him up the batting order,” Dhoni said.

Chasing 317, India fell short by 18 runs and Dhoni said some big partnerships would have made the chase easier.

“The match got quite close at the end and some good partnerships in the top-order would have made the job easier for us in the final overs,” he said.

“There were quite a few positives though. The way we kept them (Australia) to 318 was a good one. We did not leave it till the last ball. They (Sri Lanka) have not made it to the finals, of course. We would like to win that game so that we can go through,” he said about India’s last league match against Sri Lanka Tuesday.

Australian skipper Ricky Ponting was relieved with his batsmen finding form in the nick of time for the Commonwealth Bank Triangular Series finals.

“It had been coming for a while, the top order were going to get some runs. I spoke to the guys this morning about trying to get some momentum going into the finals and all the guys did that,” Ponting said.

Ponting, who was going through a form slump, was happy be back among runs. “I came out today and thought hopefully I will get some runs in this game.”

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