India's bowling in the last ten overs of ODIs remains a worry, India captain MS Dhoni has said. The hosts conceded 114 runs in the last ten overs in the second ODI in Visakhapatnam, including 84 in the last five as Cameron White and Michael Clarke propelled Australia to 289. The pace trio of Ashish Nehra, Praveen Kumar and the inexperienced Vinay Kumar was singled out for treatment.
"The last ten overs have always been a big concern for us. It's not a worry we have had (only) over the last two or three months. We have been bothered by the last ten overs for a long time now - one to one-and-a-half years," Dhoni said. "We had done well in between but have not been really consistent. It's still an area where we can definitely improve."
"The end result can depend on those last five overs. If you give 20-25 extra runs, it becomes really difficult when you are chasing a total like 290-odd runs as you have to score at six an over right from the start. A few bowlers bowl a few good overs and the rate keeps mounting."
Dhoni also praised middle-order batsman Suresh Raina, whose quickfire half-century guided India home in Visakhapatnam and gave them a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. "The important thing is the great rate at which he's been scoring runs," Dhoni said. "More often than not he scores at a brisk pace. He's been like a floater for us, batting at no. 5 and 6 depending on the situation. He's also a very good fielder."
India went in with four specialist bowlers in their previous game but the part-timers, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina, stepped up and bowled economically. The availability of several part-time options in the team to fill the role of the fifth bowler, Dhoni said, was an advantage.
"This side has Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina. Virat Kohli can also bowl a bit. If we are playing with four bowlers then Virat's role becomes very important because you have to see if somebody has an off day and look at the next available bowler."
India had two debutants in the Vishakapatnam game, batsmen Saurabh Tiwary and Shikhar Dhawan, and Dhoni encouraged the youngsters in the team to play their natural game. "You have to play your brand of cricket. That's what is important, especially for the youngsters. Till you (youngsters) cement your place in the side you should be playing (in similar fashion) because of which you are part of the side."