'The pitch didn't misbehave' - MS Dhoni
India needed to win the sixth ODI against Australia in Guwahati to stay in the series but, less than an hour into the contest, their hopes were snuffed out. Doug Bollinger and Mitchell Johnson wrecked their formidable top-order, reducing them to 27 for 5, a situation MS Dhoni described as a "bit too much" to come back from.
"The pitch didn't misbehave in any way, though there was a bit of movement for the fast bowlers early on," Dhoni said after India lost the series 4-2 with a game in hand. "I said at the toss also that the first half-an-hour would be crucial and if we negotiate that we could set the total that we had in mind.
"I think 27 for 5 was a bit too much. Even 150 was looking very difficult after that and we were fortunate to cross the mark after that. If we lost maybe one or two wickets, it would still be decent because you had the chance of getting back. We had a seventh batsman and we have also seen Harbhajan Singh and Praveen Kumar contributing to a certain extent."
Dhoni batted first on winning the toss on a pitch he felt would aid the spinners as the match progressed. However, the Australian fast bowlers exploited the assistance it offered after an 8.30 am start and found movement in the air. The Indian fast bowlers failed to gain similar movement later in the day and their spinners had too little a total to defend. The batsmen's failure to contribute collectively was also a significant factor in India's three defeats while chasing in Vadodara, Mohali and Hyderabad.
"We haven't backed the opportunities that we have got. A majority of the batsmen haven't contributed at the same time," Dhoni said. "In the games where our top order didn't perform, our middle order also didn't bat well. In the end we have lost the series. We have done well in patches in this series but we haven't grabbed the opportunities."