Sri Lanka v India, 1st Test, Galle, 5th day July 22, 2010

Dhoni credits Sri Lanka's bowlers


India came into the match knowing their bowlers were the weak link, and they performed accordingly. Where they will feel let down, though, is with the star-studded batting. In all, the top seven lasted fewer than 135 overs in both innings put together. There were some irresponsible shots and some fantastic bowling from the opposition. The pitch remained good for batting throughout, even until the last evening when Muttiah Muralitharan had to struggle for 25 overs for his 800th wicket.

MS Dhoni, though, chose to concentrate on the opposition's bowling effort. "Whenever we had some kind of a partnership going, the Sri Lankan bowlers came up with a beautiful delivery to get the batsmen out," Dhoni said. "Be it the first innings or the second. We had quite a few partnerships in the first innings, also in the second, but some of the deliveries they bowled were really difficult to keep out."

Dhoni reserved special praise for Lasith Malinga. "If you see Malinga, you can't really say he changes his action to let the ball come in or take it out," he said. "He bowls in the same areas with the new ball and at times it comes in, at times it goes away. It can be a bit difficult for the opening batsmen, especially when he is bowling the first couple of overs, which he will do more often than not. It was one of those games where the ball fell at the right place."

Steering clear of the shots played by Virender Sehwag and VVS Laxman in the first innings, Dhoni spoke about the deliveries that broke a promising partnership between him and Yuvraj Singh. That's when, he said, India were sent towards defeat. "We had a kind of partnership then, me and Yuvraj Singh in the first innings," Dhoni said. "We were in a position to avoid the follow-on. After that we would have been in a good position to save the Test match. Murali bowled two really good deliveries and got both of us out. After that, with the follow-on enforced, it was important we kept going. But whenever we got a partnership going, Malinga produced a couple of wickets."

Dhoni wasn't harsh on his bowling unit. "The wicket was quite flat," he said. "As a bowling unit, you have to keep putting the pressure on and force the batsman to commit a mistake. Or you come up with brilliant deliveries. Murali and Malinga shared 15 wickets. Murali is a great bowler, and Malinga, because of his action, gets really difficult to play. Apart from that, if you are a bowler with a normal action, if you don't have much variety in your bowling, it gets really difficult to get the batsmen out once they are set."

Dhoni said his bowlers could have done with some more luck. "We were to some extent unlucky because quite a few edges didn't carry to slip or didn't go to slip fielders," he said. "If you see the boundary percentage, there were quite a few scored between the keeper and the point fielder. It is important to have luck on your side, which never was in this game."

India also missed three half chances and looked flat in the field to go with the average bowling. Sri Lanka took every chance that came their way, including Angelo Mathews' run-out of VVS Laxman, when the batsman had started to threaten a draw. Mahela Jayawardene was special as usual in the slips, taking four catches off Murali and a special one off Chanaka Welegedara to remove Sehwag in the second innings. India couldn't be accused of any such effort. Outplayed in every department of play, India's margin of defeat told an accurate story.

Sidharth Monga is a staff writer at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Lalith on July 24, 2010, 21:38 GMT

    Dhoni may be preparing another 2 statements for next 2 tests now. India definitely need 2 more effective bowlers for next 2 matches otherwise India cannot win. If SL gives away wickets with over confidence, IND has a chance.

  • Syam on July 24, 2010, 8:47 GMT

    I am tired of hearing the comments from Indian Players and Coach. BCCI is just interested in money, they are least bothered for National Team's performance. If they were serious, we should have kicked out some of the players in the squad and its hight time we bring in some young players who are hungry to perform. Also 'Pay for performance' should be the way to go. Players really lack commitment. I admit we played against one of the best spinner in the world, but the way Indian team capitaluated in the test is unacceptable...deplorable.

  • Chetan on July 23, 2010, 12:06 GMT

    It is time the media took Gary Kirsten & Dhoni to task during press conferences AND not accept the gibberish they try telling us. I might not be an SME on cricket, but do know that a side that scores 1 run more than the opposition cannot lose. Forget so-called greats, even average batsmen use application first & luck 2nd to get runs. The top of the Indian batting line-up refused to use even common sense - leave alone the application required when faced with a 500+ score, as a result, 4 of the top 5 in both innings were out to moderate - moderately low scores to balls that would not deserve the wicket of a school boy. Ask Gary & Dhoni to justify explain this - Sachin - Dravid - Laxman & Sehwag who take their position for granted should be required to justify the money they get with runs on the board. These are all experienced men, not newcomers where you would look for potential !

  • Bobby on July 23, 2010, 11:20 GMT

    Indian team is full of over hyped and over rated players.Indian selectors can not make hard calls.Can we please get real and admit that ICC ranking system is flawed that no one seems to care just like IPL.Ranking does take into consideration how much cricket you play and win and not necessarily where you win.India lost last series in Pakistan 1-0. India drew series in NZ. India drew series with South Africa at home.India has not won series in Sri Lanka since zillion years.Current Indian team is 5th in world.Australia is still best team followed by S.Africa and England.Sri Lanka is next on the list.Most over rated batsman of all time Tendulkar is not winning anything for India & Indian bowling is pathetic.Harsha is right that bowling wins matches but actually Indian batting failed in first inning and even in the tour match.Has anyone seen Amir, Asif, Gul & two Pakistani middleorder batsmen?India has to do same thing and bring in youngsters for Bhajjan, Laxman, Yuvraj and Sharma!

  • Teague on July 23, 2010, 10:51 GMT

    So does everyone in India want to be like Sachin or does someone in India want to become like Wasim, Warne, Mcgrath, Pollock. Have the young generation forgotten that there is glory to be had from the other end as well, running down to deliver a Malcome Marshall blinder.

    Bottom line. India's performace with the bat and ball clearly show they are not no.1. Such a team is consistent in their winning ways. India is only consistent in giving its supporter a heartbreak each time they play. Come on India get with it !!!!!

  • Dummy4 on July 23, 2010, 9:53 GMT

    I don't think that MSD can give these excuses over and over again now...we lack experience, we have to improve our feilding...blah blah blah...when we are supposed to improve that?? Every time we lose, we keep hearing same excuses from the indian captain. This is one of the worst losses India have ever had in recent times, and the best(or worst,whatever) part is that we didn't seem to give any sort of fight to Srilankans even for a single session (some people might call Ishant's spell a fightback though)....Being a FAN of Indian team, it feels bad when you see your team going down without giving any fight to the opposition

  • khurram on July 23, 2010, 9:32 GMT

    i think dhoni must learn frm afridi atleast afridi realised that he is no more good for test cricket come on start playing for country n not for urself

  • nishantha on July 23, 2010, 9:02 GMT

    patience is a good virtue to have and a greater one is giving the opposition due respect and some " fans" need to learn these all important traits . After one test match , they have started running down their own team - India after crying hoarse that they were world beaters in the run up to the series and running down the opponents . Its time they looked at things practically and accept that their team is " also " not so great when playing outside the familiar flat tracks at home !

  • Dummy4 on July 23, 2010, 8:52 GMT

    Where i am, in Australia, the match was not shown. But it is clear that India's deficiency is in the fast bowling department. Harbe & Ohja would produce better resukts with pressure from the other end (bowling in partnerships). We all had to sit through the IPL and watch that stupid MRF blimp and here about the fast bowlers that came from the academy. Where are they? As a nation, India would be better served if they embraced bowling efforts as much as batting. You see, most young aspiring Indian cricketers dream of making centuries instead of getting fit and bowling at 150 kmph. The BCCI needs to focus on 'glorifying' bowling (and fielding) heroics to incentivise Indian cricketers to focus on these disciplines.

  • Kalindu on July 23, 2010, 8:45 GMT

    @ thenkabail : Could you please tell me that, how you are saying Malinga was throwing the ball...????? (what cricket is in u) I guess u r one of the Bished Sing bedis....When all Indian batsmen failed to make an impress u guys blaming to bowlers,luck,opposition bowler trowing,pitch is flat (Indian pitches are best live pitches... :P ) .... Guys get over this. Itz spineless thing. Any way we hope Indians will give a good fight for this series. Looking forward a good series...

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