India v Pakistan, 2nd ODI, Kolkata January 3, 2013

Dhoni rues top-order failure

ESPNcricinfo staff

India had their second successive top-order batting collapse but unlike the first ODI in Chennai, where their lower order came to the rescue, Pakistan's bowlers didn't give the hosts a second chance and completed a big win to take the series.

MS Dhoni rued the failure of his batsmen after the bowlers had brought India back into the match. Pakistan had appeared set for a huge total after a 141-run opening stand, but India's bowlers struck regularly in the second half of the innings to limit their target to 251.

India's openers made an edgy start, but were still in the middle by the 10th over and had put up 42 on the board. However, just like the previous game, a wicket opened the floodgates and the team was reduced to 95 for 5 in 26 overs. There were no lower-order stands of note this time and while Dhoni stayed unbeaten, the team was all out for 165.

"Last 30 overs we needed 180, so if you put 100 off 20, then you can get 80-90 off last 10 with five fielders inside the circle," Dhoni said. "But the key is to have wickets in hand and we never were in a position.

"Virat [Kohli] has scored runs for us, but one of the top three needs to play with the middle order, that will make it easy, not that they aren't trying, but it happens."

The batting failures in the two matches have meant that India have neither been able to put up a competitive total nor be in a position to chase one down. Dhoni said there was experience in the batting but all have struggled to find form on tracks that have helped bowlers but also rewarded batsmen who showed patience.

"The bowlers brought us back into the game," Dhoni said. "The spinners in the second half of the first innings bowled well and the faster bowlers made most of the bounce available off the pitch. But when we went into bat, we lost too many wickets."

"Initially there was something for fast bowlers, then it became flat, but there was something for the spinners. There was turn in the first as well as second innings, but after 25th over the ball started doing a bit for the faster bowlers, even with the old ball. So there was everything for everyone. There were runs for batsmen too. It was a good ODI wicket."

Dhoni also conceded that the team was finding it difficult to win matches with part-time bowlers in view of the amended ODI rules which stipulate five fielders inside the circle for full 50 overs.

"We are used to play with part-timers. Now it's difficult for part-timers to bowl with five players inside the circle. If there's dew, then you don't get turn as well. With the new rules, you've to assess whether six batsmen are enough or seven."

"What we're looking at is somebody who can fill in the gap -- a genuine allrounder to bring in the balance in the side. Lower-order contribution is also very important especially when you're chasing."

Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, said a total of 300 was on the cards after the platform Pakistan openers had set but the pitch was not an easy one to score on, especially for new batsmen. He, however, praised the bowling attack for another efficient performance.

"The bowlers are really doing a great job, especially Junaid who is moving it both ways and asking questions of the batsmen," Misbah said. "Irfan has his height, Gul also bowled well today, and Ajmal and Hafeez always deliver for us.

"We have the edge in the quality of our bowling. Indian batsmen are struggling for quite a long time. But I think our bowlers exploited the conditions better. Normally we get flat pitches here in India. But both the pitches - in Chennai and Kolkata - were challenging for batsmen," he said.

Misbah also singled out Nasir Jamshed for special praise and said the batsman has matured well during the tour.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • karthik on January 5, 2013, 20:10 GMT

    Any captain who survives 10 consecutive/disgraceful test thrashings,shameful loss to BD in Asia Cup,failing to qualify for Oz tri-series finals despite herculean rescue efforts time and time again by Kohli & in Asia Cup.Failing to qualify for WT20 despite it being his favorite format & finally getting smashed at home by Pakistan.This MSD is one lucky man,in fact he's the definition of luck.His explanation for all those losses: 1.Its OK,losses are part of the game 2.Excuses: Pitch,toss,climate,lack of bowlers/all-rounders 3. Lately,the new cop out 'team in transition' Sorry but what transition- Sehwag,Gambhir,Raina,Yuvraj,Kohli& Dhoni ;6 of 7 from WC winning team stays and he says transition WTH? Oh may be the bowlers huh? In any case,isn't Pakistan too in transition Mr.Captain fool? And why are they winning,there are some words called passion,hunger & freshness that you seemed to have forgotten..Get him out please and save Ind cricket.

  • Dummy4 on January 5, 2013, 11:36 GMT

    utthapa.karthik,pujara.irfan,rayudu,chand,pankaj singh,deepak behera,shammi ahmed,hiken shah,jiwonjot singh are raisiing stars....

  • Dummy4 on January 5, 2013, 11:28 GMT

    Players like Gambhir,dhoni,jadeja,dinda hav got more chance..they shud dropped...also fletcher is big factor of indian a day...u cant get out all the player at a time...these four is more responsible...

  • Dummy4 on January 5, 2013, 8:32 GMT

    I m a big sehwag fan and want him to perform and be in india team... but given the current situation india has lost the plot and are very vulnerable to pak pace attack.. As series is already lost india should try and field in form players and try to win ... i suppose team as per their batting order..

    Ajinkya,gambhir,virat,pujara,dhoni,raydu,ashwin,ojha,shami ahmad,b kumar,ishant sharma...

    trust me this team has ability to win... we can also change ghambir with m.vijay...

  • Imtiaj on January 5, 2013, 8:19 GMT

    Dhoni is nothing but a coward. If the pitch or the bowling attack is good he always bat down the under and when the pitch is batting friendly or the bowling is not good he bats higher up the order.

  • manoj on January 5, 2013, 6:36 GMT

    Drop Sehwag & Gambhir. Kick off Jadeja & Rohit Sharma... Open with Rahane & Ashwin instead. Give that lad Manoj Tiwary a chance. What else does Tiwary need to do? And a consistent performer in Ranji like Badrinath is given just 7 ODI's and 2 Tests (in one of them he scores a 50 against SA in SA)..

  • raj on January 5, 2013, 4:56 GMT

    I know.....IT'S TENDULKAR'S FAULT!!! Ha Ha hahahhahahahahahah.

    Where are all the Tendulkar haters now - Bet we could have done with one of his 'match losing hundreds'!!!

  • Abdul Rehman on January 5, 2013, 4:34 GMT

    Hi Guys! Don't be emotional. Time comes when you face failures. It is time to compose yourself. Review your plans. Look for the available alternatives. A strategic retreat is the key to ultimate success. Alex Thomas is suggesting pain relievers. However, need of the hour demands a drastic surgery. Let remove the assets which has become liability. No one is larger than the national interest. Change is the essence of resurgence. Old order must be replaced by new one. If we continurd sticking to bitten bats and rotten bowls, I see no ray of hope in near future. But if India resort to accept change She can overpower the genie of debacles looming large on Indian Team right now. Close chapters of Dhoni and Co and bring out a whole new Face of Indian Cricket Team.Simply because a deat at home is a kind of Black wash at the hands of Pakistan.

  • Dummy4 on January 5, 2013, 3:21 GMT

    Its good the curry team lost.I am happy with the result.Well done Pakistan.WC win was fluke and everyone knows that.I dont have time to write about this foolish Indian team and the BCCI. Out of 1.21 billion people we cant find 11 good players. Hahahah what good example we can find of the corrupted nature of the country and its people??I am glad I left India and an OZ citizen now.I can whole-hartdly support the champion Ozzies.I am looking forward for another white wash to the curry team under the hands of Oz now in curry land.

  • Bobby on January 5, 2013, 3:16 GMT

    I have never been a fan of Sehwag as he is a batsman with minimum footwork and technique and has managed to score easy runs on easy wickets. Having said that, his record against likes of Pakistan has been excellent. In 2004, Pakistan had two of their star champion bowlers Wasim And Waqar at end of their career and I recall in centurion, likes of Sehwag and Tendulya attacked them. It was utter shame because Tendulya never faced those two bowlers in their prime. Now when I see this current series, it seems roles have reversed. As a Pakistani fan, you can not help but to smile when you see. V.Sehwag and Gambhir coming to open the innings. V.Sehwag looks a very ordinary batsman against Pakistan's new bowling pair. He is pretty much a walking wicket. Gambhir is no better. More surprisingly, V Kohli has come down crashing to the earth. This chat had scored few centuries again on flat Indian wickets and was letting his mouth talk rather than bat! Welcome back...Pakistan just humiliated you!