India v Australia, 2nd Test, Bangalore, 5th day October 13, 2010

Dhoni praises bowlers for clean sweep


MS Dhoni was full of praise for his bowlers, and the way his side showed character despite injuries to key players, following India's clean sweep of Australia in the two-Test series.

Both Tests in this series were heading towards draws before India's bowlers triggered Australia's second-innings collapses, setting up close finishes in each of the games. "I think the effort put in by the players, especially the bowlers, was really outstanding because by losing tosses I am not really helping them out," Dhoni said.

"Every time, especially in the subcontinent, we are having to bowl first. First innings [in Bangalore] we couldn't get any kind of reverse-swing because the wicket and the square were not so dry, which meant they had to turn up and look for alternative ways to get the batsmen out. Still they were more than willing to come up with spells whenever needed. This was not a track where a match can get over in four-and-a-half days. It was not a turning track where the spinners can just bowl and get wickets."

As has often been the case of late, India played a Test series without their first-choice XIs, and also lost players along the way. VVS Laxman and Ishant Sharma needed injections and tablets to stand up straight, but they rescued India in a famous finish in Mohali. Gautam Gambhir, too, injured his knee and had to sit out.

All the three replacements, though, did their jobs in Bangalore, and Dhoni acknowledged that. "Not only in Tests, we have been playing series without our key players," Dhoni said. "Consistently we have not played our strongest side.

"I am fortunate to have a side that has performed very well in the past one-and-a-half years and the credit goes to them. Whether it is the youngsters or the seniors, they have always performed whenever they get the opportunity. Individuals like Murali Vijay, who is not consistently featuring in the XI because we have Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir doing the job for us. But whenever he has got an opportunity to play games, he has scored decent amount of runs. You could complain maybe that he got the kind of start he needed, but hasn't scored big runs. In this match, he really made it big. He got the start, went onto cross the century barrier, and continued his innings. It was a good learning experience for him. In the same way [Cheteshwar] Pujara, too, batted really well."

Having beaten Australia, their biggest rivals over the last decade, 2-0 in their last two series, Dhoni said India needed to create bowling reserves if they were to dominate world cricket like Australia did. "If our bowling lot can grow - four-five good fast bowlers, and one or two more spinners, the workload can be spread," Dhoni said. "It is very difficult for the fast bowlers to play every Test. Within the next 20 days, we will start another three-match series on similar wickets. You just can't turn up there and put the ball there, these pitches take a lot of effort. There is a lot of pressure on the fast bowlers, and especially with the four-bowler combination, spinners have to bowl a lot of overs. Especially when the captain keeps losing the toss."

Dhoni also credited the side for having come together well despite the limited time for preparation. "The whole team didn't get a chance to have practice sessions together because some of the boys were playing the Champions League," Dhoni said. "We got limited time, but what is impressive is the way we utilised those practice sessions in the right manner. Everyone was up for it."

Dhoni made it a point to praise the team for handling the pressure situations well. "Most of the times, this is a series that has plenty of hype created around it, and it's good that it ended without any controversy... One good thing in both the Test matches, even though the last-innings targets were not huge, was that there was pressure on both the sides. Ultimately it was a close finish in both the games. You may look at this scorecard and say this was an easy win, but still there was nervousness in the dressing room. I think it was a good short Test series we had."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Shulz Van on October 15, 2010, 3:11 GMT

    @ RAHUL RAFAEL AND BASKARAN..You guys get too unsecured when someone say something against India..Rahul your totally would it make sense to you? I dont blame you. You didnt even understand what i was talking about. I dont care if SA played less Cricket than India thats not the point sir!! LOL..And I am not even questioning India being no.1 in papers at the moment. I was telling Pranav Desai that his Statement of India beating Australia in Australia was wrong they never won a series. But yeah SA beat Aus in Aus...and its a can argue as much you want but the best India could do was a draw in 2004 YES MR BASKARAN I watch as much as u do, maybe more. I was telling DEsai that They never won a series in Aus and its a fact. Draw is not conquering...SA drew the last 2 series in India as what!!!And MR Baskaran dont give excuses that India could have won...come on!! It didn happen..Who is inside the cave now? LOL..BTW SA might beat Ind in the coming series.

  • Hamza on October 15, 2010, 2:42 GMT

    Iam really impressed with Zaheer Khan. The guy is clearly a world class bowler now. Its a bit of a shame because i feel he wasted a lot of his career, but now he seems to understand his bowling and is spearheading the Indian attack with great success. Would you all agree that he was the best bowler on display in the series? Other than that the aussies need to better develope their bowlers, yes they can be a handfull of hard, bouncy pitches but they look pedestrian at times on pitches outside Australia.

  • TR on October 14, 2010, 16:49 GMT

    @ shovwar Fully agree... I am not belittling India's skills. But the ranking system's awarding points based on no. of matches played - does not reflect the true skill of a nation. There has to be a 'Test Tournament' or league as the ICC is discussing now. India should beat Aus in Aus and SA in SA (and so with every nation). Thats the only way India can compare with when Aus was #1.

  • TR on October 14, 2010, 16:37 GMT

    @Nilesh Thakker: Good unbiased review of our past fast bowlers. @MasterClass: The team that wins is the BEST team!! I like that.

    People talk about *quality side like Australian team* ... The truth is this Aus is the team that cant get Ishant Sharma in 90+ balls !! that is 15+ overs with no bowling/field restrictions!! C'mon.. Lets not think too great about the Indian batsmen who succeeded against this Aus team. I appreciate Ishant's effort. I do agree India is the best team in the world. BUT ... The fact is that the standard of cricket in the rest of the world has come down a lot due to various reasons. Especially our contenders ..

    Aus & NZ - due to sudden resignation of big players. Pak - due to bad polictics. WI - due to poor administration

    SA are the only ones now to fight India .. But they too have not much answers against good spin bowling. And except Styn no other bowler threatens.

    My point: Indian talent remains same (=good). But others have gone to worse.

  • Dummy4 on October 14, 2010, 15:43 GMT

    @shovwar haven't you seen the 2004 series IN AUSTRALIA which was drawn 1-1 by India when the aussies were supposedly at their peak... It would have been won by India had it not been for the flat pitch on the fourth test... Come out of your cave!!!

  • Ramana on October 14, 2010, 15:43 GMT

    I think it is necessary to praise the spirit in which this series was played. Compared to the other series in recent past, the sledging, 'mental disintegration' tactics have thankfully been put in the deep-freeze. Aussies in fact have been very sporting, Ponting's decision to allow a runner for VVS Laxman being the most notable instance.

  • Dummy4 on October 14, 2010, 15:19 GMT

    @shovwar - The statement you said doesn't make sense to me, India became No.1 due to SA not playing more tests, thats a very good excuse, you are saying as if India din't allow SA to play more their board issues, what has Indian team got to do with tht..Ask the team's board to arrange tours and play more matches and beat teams or loose matches..No one is stopping any team from playing matches... So, if you give a lame excuse like that, i got bag full of excuses with me, let me give u one for example...India would have won the Test series against Aus with ease if not for the poor umpiring of Mr.Steve Bucknor, how does this sound to you for an excuse now?? Stop making excuses and start appreciating cricket, let be any team who plays it.. And now if u say this Aus team wasn't a full strength team , then ask the ppl who retired to come n play.. Dude, stop making excuses...think practically and stay in the present.Njoy life...Cricket is the real winner at the End of Day.

  • Shulz Van on October 14, 2010, 12:45 GMT

    @ PRANAV DESAI........YOU SAID"..When australia was #1 Only india beat them in Australia, I want to see someone come into India and WIN!!.."..Well...just before you get really carried away and give everyone a wrong impression let me break it down to you...India never won a test series in Australia if u mean by winning a test but lost series like 2-1 ...yes India won single test in Australia when Australia was no.1....But so did England in the ashes in Aus and so did SA....And I am talking about while Aus was no.1 test team....Please watch world cricket..Supporting India and watching only those test where India plays is alright but dont make incorrect comments...please. And it is SA who beat Aus in a series in Aus recently and pulled Australia down from the no.1 spot and beacme no.1 in 2009....SA where initially the no.1 team but due to not playing more cricket than India they slide to no.2...And both Aus and SA beat India in India...Not too long ago..Get it ryt pls

  • Nataraaj on October 14, 2010, 9:58 GMT

    Congrats team india. Indian bowlers Zaheer,Baji and ohja did extreemly well on a good batting wicket to win this Hystoric 2-0 Australian wash. Sachin, Vijay, Pujara have set the tone for india and they batted exceptionally well.

    Ishanth & Sreesanth both disappointed in bowling, we need to look for someone to share newball with Zaheer effectivly , i think we must try Nehra & Praveen kumar in test on rotation basis because both a good enough in short spells & both are in good form. let give ishanth a break.

  • Oliver on October 14, 2010, 9:18 GMT

    Congratulations to both teams for an outstanding series. In England we have had a rather grim summer (albeit winning comfortably) thanks to allegations of corruption, and the future of test cricket has been questioned. Let this series stand as evidence to the doubters. I just hope England can give Australia a comparable challenge in a couple of months...

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