New Zealand v India, 1st Test, Auckland, 4th day February 9, 2014

'Mixed emotions' for Dhoni after rollercoaster Test

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'Need to capitalise on situations better' - Dhoni

India were 301 runs behind New Zealand on the first innings. They rebounded from that position so well that at one stage they needed 185 to win with eight wickets remaining. To go down from that point left MS Dhoni with "mixed emotions" after a rollercoaster of a Test. He was proud of the way both his bowlers and batsmen had fought back in the second innings, but disappointed that India fell short by 40 runs in their chase of 407.

"I think it is mixed emotions. The first innings we didn't bowl well to start off," Dhoni said. "The first session was good, but I think it was one of the best bowling performances if I see the second innings - definitely in the last two-three years - especially on a wicket where there was not much assistance after the first session. I think the second innings by the bowlers really brought us back into the game, and gave us something where we could have said, yes, this is a big target, but we can look to chase it down."

India were 222 for 2 in the chase with Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan going strong but Kohli tried to pull a wide one from Neil Wagner in the 61st over and fell for 67. While Dhoni said batsmen had to make the most of such situations, he added that the phase where India lost wickets to the second new ball hurt them more.

"Our batsmen batted well in the second innings. Close to the 85th over, we lost a few wickets and we had a tough decision (Ajinkya Rahane's) at the same time which meant we were short of 30-35 runs and that was the crucial phase. The second new ball would have moved for maybe five-six overs maximum. That was the period when if we would have not given our wickets, we would have got those 40 runs. So there were quite a few things that did not go our way."

Despite their efforts in the second innings, India had conceded too much ground in the first, when they won the toss in overcast conditions and let New Zealand pile on 503 from 30 for 3. Managing 202 after that only added to their woes.

"Both departments we could have done better," Dhoni said. "Especially if you see the second innings bowling, there were hardly any shots played through the point region which meant we very tight, we were bowling close to the off stump area. Because of that, we used that same fielder in the short-cover position and we got a few catches there so I think yes, we gave away a few deliveries to score in the first innings because of which we were at the receiving end.

"Once you get a couple of batsmen going, they have spent a bit of time ... it was a wicket where you could have gone on to score big, (like) how Brendon McCullum scored. Yes, there were a few missed catches also, but those are part and parcel of the game. Anyone and everyone can drop catches. I won't really point that. Yes, that also contributed to some extent."

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • android_user on February 10, 2014, 17:52 GMT

    Dhoni's captaincy in NZ's 2nd innings was brilliant. 5 slips and even a leg slip despite starting over 300 behind. What would Alastair Cook do in the same situation? Everyone on the boundary and NZ crawling to a 500+ lead at their leisure. Anyone criticising Dhoni after this is nuts. I'd gladly swap Cook for him anytime.

  • android_user on February 10, 2014, 15:34 GMT

    the time has come that india need a young new captain with fresh planning and mindset.india has to get rid of doni now.he dont have the india how to win games outside the country.

  • android_user on February 10, 2014, 1:11 GMT

    It was lack of commitment and I would blame Dhoni. If Lara can stand alone and win tests scoring beyond 100's why don't our bats men do. The same lacking in the final one day too, which could have been easily won. This test was in our hands and its ridiculous that we lost.

  • dummy4fb on February 10, 2014, 0:03 GMT

    To sum up the position Dhoni should have taken the initiative and he having won the toss opted to bat first. Pitch is full of wear and tear and playing in the fourth innings is a difficult task. When Jadaja showed brilliance the real spinner Ashwin or any other good spinner should have been added in the team India knowing fully well New Zealanders or Australians are weak in facing the genuine spin. Proper planning is lacking. The defeat has become inevitable.

  • dummy4fb on February 9, 2014, 23:51 GMT

    4-0 in England, 4- 0 in Australia, 2-0 in SA (SA gifted a draw), 2-1 to Eng in India, NZ now 1-0 ..this is MSDs performance Overseas. Thanks to poor captaincy from Mcullum that this match got intresting . Had Mcullum asked India to follow on match would have been over in 3 days. MSD should resign and handover captaincy to younger...that you ng captais should in a selection meeting say "its difficult to play with a senior like dhoni" and ask dhoni to decide on his last test match ..yes Inidan batsman have a longer shellf life than any other crciket team in the world..but thats the way it is ..in the name of young you cant just ask players who have played well to retire ..please god save us from DHONI

  • sheru-sher on February 9, 2014, 23:41 GMT

    Now that BCCI has succeeded in making India cricket elite , it is like the tail wagging the dog because India is not in the top 3 cricket teams of the world and was never for any prolonged period like Austrailia or the West Indies. I am curious to see if BCCI will decise on the Future Tours and if Flat tracks/Dust bowls will be artificially made and flown around the world as part of India's team implements kit. Then India will surely dominate.

  • Viratkohlirocks on February 9, 2014, 23:25 GMT

    @cricket_lover1, surely your kidding! drop rahane and jadeja! Jadeja turned the game around with his fielding in the 3rd innings. He literally took every catch and provided one wicket. He then scored runs i this match at an average of 55(not out in the first innings), and he took some real blinders. The only thing he had done badly was his bowling on the first day. He was actually probably india's best player in the match. Rahane had one poor test match, also a horrible decision, and not to forget he averaged 146 in the test macth against SA. Vijay is the only who could have done better (dropping mcculum in the 20s)

  • Ravs1504 on February 9, 2014, 22:41 GMT

    Well , after being of fan of dhoni i can safely say he is not test material and not even test captaincy anymore..He is too fixated with ideas and doesn't follow the 'horses for courses'. Although i didn't mind them losing this match as they showed some fight but still there is a lot more desired from the team. God saves us from Mr Fletcher and whoever has been our bowling coach.

  • android_user on February 9, 2014, 22:38 GMT

    Indian cricket please accept that you are losers. Well Done NZ. Have some respect for oppositions. NZ played well.

  • cric_frank on February 9, 2014, 21:42 GMT

    Till Dhoni stays in this team- canters,comfortable/close wins will end up tight and/or comprehensive defeats.This man is a disaster and I'd said this even when he scored 200 against Oz last year that it was the best time for him to be dropped from tests so someone fresher,more positive,more gutsy and more sensible can take over to end his reign of negative,defensive,cowardly cricket. As predicted,he has managed to ruin what is a good enough team that can win overseas if given the right direction and correct selections.His pathetic judgement and atrocious keeping make him the biggest culprit and liability in the team.Ind could have won in SA and probably sealed the series in the 1st test itself. We should have won this game after Dhawan and Kohli's splendor.It rubs off on the team,his cowardice,his negativity,defensive attitude even if individually very proactive positive players themselves.Kick out MSD at-least now or RIP Ind Cricket.

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