Bangladesh v India, 1st ODI, Mirpur May 10, 2007

'It will be difficult to beat us now'



Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik showed plenty of resolve to pull India out of a difficult position at Mirpur © AFP
Ravi Shastri, India's cricket manager, has said that victory in the first ODI against Bangladesh at Mirpur has given the team a huge lift, and warned that India will be much tougher to beat through the rest of the series. The Indians struggled through much of the match, but an unbroken 107-run stand between Mahendra Singh Dhoni - who battled through a hamstring problem to score an unbeaten 91 - and Dinesh Karthik won them the game.

"At one point I was also nervous about the outcome, but the boys showed tremendous character and fighting spirit," Shastri said after the five-wicket win. "It will be difficult to defeat us now. Bangladesh better beware."

Shastri also said winning close games like this one will help the team get its act together again. "They are a great bunch. Their camaraderie is excellent. The need is for one or two wins like this to get the guys back on track and play the cricket they should."

He was full of praise for the match-winning efforts by Dhoni and Karthik. "They are young players and to show that kind of maturity augurs well. The way they played you have got to give them credit. I thought they were outstanding in trying circumstances. Dhoni had kept for 47 overs and then had to come out and bat and had cramps. But the good thing was he didn't give it away."

Shastri said he was quite pleased with the showing of his team. "I was very satisfied. It was a fighting performance. When you are watching a cricket match, and a side is 140 for 5 and another 100 plus to get in trying conditions and when you get that without losing a wicket, not only is that entertainment, it shows all the qualities a sportsperson should have to reach the top level.

"There was concentration, there was discipline, there was fighting spirit and above all there was tremendous self-belief. They really had to dig into their reserves to win and that will stand them in good stead. I think Bangladesh will have to play better cricket now if they want to beat India."

Shastri also said the presence of two wicketkeepers gave the team more flexibility. "If the conditions are like that and if he [Dhoni] is feeling the heat then it's a great bonus to have two wicketkeepers. One can keep for 40 overs, and the other for the next [few] overs. It is allowed."

He, however, admitted that there were a few grey areas. "There is work to be done in a couple of areas, but I would rather take a win in this fashion. It was a tough game and I am really proud of the way the guys responded. I would rather look at the positives than dwell on the negatives."

Shastri said the team management would not seek a replacement for Manoj Tewary, who was ruled out of the tour following a shoulder injury. "We would have the Test team coming over a day before the last ODI. If necessary we will use any one of them."