South Africa v India, 2nd ODI, Durban December 8, 2013

Top-order failures creating pressure - Dhoni


Top-order batting lacked execution - Dhoni

MS Dhoni was satisfied by how his bowlers made a comeback from the pasting in Johannesburg and in the first half of this match, but his batsmen left him disappointed this time. And before you realise, the series is already gone.

India's bowlers leaked 358 at the Wanderers but performed relatively better at Kingsmead to keep South Africa to 280 for 6, after the openers had added 194 in 35 overs.

"If you talk about this particular game, I think the kind of shots we played, a few of them were on, but the execution was not great to some extent as they went to the fielders," Dhoni said. "But compared to the last game, the bowlers did a fantastic job, especially in the middle overs. Overall, I was very happy with the bowling performance because 280 on this wicket was decent. The wicket was on the flatter side, there wasn't much for the fast bowlers, but I was disappointed with the batting."

When asked about the short ball - Ajinkya Rahane was stuck against the bouncers from Dale Steyn and a couple of batsmen fell to short deliveries - Dhoni said there was no such weakness. "I don't think it was the short ball," Dhoni said. "It was more to do with shot selection, the shot execution. This wicket was on the flatter side, and pace was down for the fast bowlers.

"Also when we go outside people talk about the short-pitched bowling, because they know in the subcontinent we are not really used to this kind of bowling, but what we have seen is that you play a few shots and it pays off, then the opposition are in trouble as to where they need to bowl, and that's what really happened in the Champions Trophy. Also at times, when you play those big shots and it doesn't pay off and you end up losing quite a few wickets. That is something we will have to accept because it becomes part and parcel of cricket."

Dhoni said this performance is a one-off. "Well you can consider this as a one-off series," Dhoni said. "Yes we didn't bat really well but it can happen. Especially when you come outside and you see that the middle order is not performing, you may get a bit exposed if you lose early wickets at the top. [In] the last few series our middle order to some extent was a bit of a bother. In this series we lost the top three maybe quite early and our middle order was exposed to some extent. So if you assess that, maybe because of that we haven't been able to perform to our potential, especially in the batting department."

Dhoni said his team still stood a chance to salvage this tour. "It is part and parcel of any series that you play," Dhoni said. "You win quite a few and you lose quite a few. What's important is that you keep learning, and the bowlers learnt from the first game and bowled better in this game. I think as a batting unit also we need to learn quite a few things, and keep going onto the field."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on December 12, 2013, 2:19 GMT

    what happened to the top order, this is same top order that chased 300+ scores against Australia in India,these batsmen are proving that are lions of subcontinent conditions, but out of that they are just toothless catch,watch out Rohit Sharma who was great form, who recently scored 209 against Australia, was not able to touch Dale Steyn's balls, is that we call form,Indian batsmen who were called fearless by several commentators proved that they are nothing but heroes of homeground

  • Dummy4 on December 11, 2013, 17:06 GMT

    We need Gambhir and Pujara!!

  • Dummy4 on December 11, 2013, 17:02 GMT

    We need Pujara!!

  • kabelo on December 10, 2013, 19:22 GMT

    Imad K south Africa doesn't have a decent bowling attack, its the best in the world!!! decent is Australia and England...

  • Kathiresan on December 10, 2013, 12:08 GMT

    I started watching cricket when aus got their second WC CUP. so i am fan of aus rather than india. i was bored and read all the comments, most of them saying all great teams will lose on away matches.

    Well thats true but they never lose without a fight mostly.... are we doing the same thing even though we lose.......... nope not even close.

    We won against Aus on home but we never outclassed them mostly they always very close to victory on par with the series.

    if we blame for no practice matches for this can we really play welllll in Test matches since we have enough practice through one day matches..... nope still we wont be able to deliver.

  • Imad on December 10, 2013, 11:43 GMT

    Nikhilesh Kasturi - we are talking about outside the subcontinent on quick, bouncy tracks against decent pace bowling. Look at what happened when India played away against England and Australia. The got utterly thrashed. It was like watching men playing against kids. It is obvious when you see how the Indian batsmen play - they fear pace bowling in these conditions. It has nothing to do with winning or losing or the other 100 excuses the team come out with. The whole world can see what's happening. Obviously Dhoni and the team aren't going to admit that they don't fancy chin music to the other teams and media are they.

  • Dummy4 on December 10, 2013, 11:43 GMT

    @srna seems u r a die-hard yuvi fan & die-hard critic of rohit sharma. so ur comments r understandable. Having said that yuvi is the weak link apart from our bowling. And in batting rohit is the most accomplished technique wise but I think he should have curbed his aggression given v were three down. I think india will pull one back.

  • kabelo on December 10, 2013, 11:15 GMT

    I think you guysare forgetting something very important here...if you were playing a less potent seam attack than you would of done far better. Dale Steyn:360 wkt in 76 tests at 22- philander:95 wkts in 18 at 17- mokel: 177 wk in 51 at 30....include kallis to that attack. I really do not see too much improvement in the tests to be honest...sorry to say

  • Dummy4 on December 10, 2013, 8:53 GMT

    We all feel that Indians fear fast bowling and cant play short balls bt where the heck are you when Kohli lashed malinga and chades 320+ odd in just 36 overs.The same team won 6 series be4 this series......Guys evry one has a off patch so lets understand that SUPPORT OUR INDIA....Hail Team INDIA....All the best Dhoni Boys n co.I m with u...

  • Dummy4 on December 10, 2013, 5:15 GMT

    History repeats itself once again. The only way India can rewrite history is if they can practise and play on hard tops at home itself. In these days of good technological know-how, why can't we PREPARE AND EMULATE HARD TRACKS in certain high altitute regions of India and let our talented cricketers play at these coaching camps months before going abroad (IPL is not as important - just a circus and money spiner). Further, the BCCI should take scheduling such tours seriously and many practise match practises should be planned, instead into falling prey to the host country time and time again - if the ABOVE PITCH EMULATION IN INDIA is so hard to prepare - I DON'T THINK SO!!!

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