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November 26, 2008
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, India's captain, has credited his bowlers for keeping England to under 300 in the Cuttack one-day international, which the home side won by six wickets.
"We didn't get the best of starts from the new-ball bowlers but in the middle the spinners did the job," Dhoni said. "In the second Powerplay, with two batsmen set, Ishant [Sharma] and Zaheer [Khan] bid a splendid job. It seemed as if England would get to 300-odd but the bowlers came back well.
"The remarkable thing this series has been the bowling in the middle and death overs. We have improved all series and hopefully we'll do well in the last two games."
Chasing 271, India got off to a flying start with Virender Sehwag - who hit a 73-ball 91 - and Sachin Tendulkar (50) putting on 136 for the first wicket. However, a wobble left India at 156 for 3. Both the openers and an in-form Yuvraj Singh were dismissed before Dhoni and Suresh Raina, with half-centuries, put India back on track.
"We knew their three seamers had almost finished their quota. So they had to bowl the spinners," said Dhoni. "We had one Powerplay still left and the asking-rate was quite down. We knew if we could survive for a while, we could get our eyes in and rotate the strike."
The job, however, was not as easy as it looked. "The light was low and it was difficult to sight the ball. It was moist and was losing colour," Dhoni said. He was satisfied with the batsmen's performance so far in the series. "It is a pleasant sight to have Sehwag batting that way and Sachin rotating the strike, hitting the odd boundary. If Yuvraj gets going you can expect more than 300."
Kevin Pietersen, the England captain, said 270 was not a bad score but the dew made life difficult for his bowlers. "I thought it was a very competitive total, and I can see now why Dhoni chose to field first because of the dew factor," he said. "They won the toss and got the fielding out of the way and we just had to deal with it. We were outplayed by Veeru [Virender Sehwag] and Sachin [Tendulkar] at the top of the order. I said I wanted to keep the series competitive and we still want to nick two games off India."
The next match is in Guwahati on November 29.
© ESPN EMEA Ltd.
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