"Back at home we talk about pace and bounce. We get bowlers who can bowl quick but they end up giving more runs without even bowling at the slog… If the batsman is playing good shots, you accept it but it is important that we bowl according to what the plan is and not go off it."

These were MS Dhoni's sharp words after India had lost the ODI series in New Zealand early last year, their bowlers unable to defend 278 in Hamilton.

India as a country gets so excited when the rare genuinely quick bowler turns up that he is fast-tracked into the national side. There, more often than not, he realises there is so much more to international cricket than just pure pace. That speed without direction means punishment. It is something Dhoni stresses about always: yes, you may be quick, but you are part of the plan. Don't get too worked up, especially on seeing a helpful pitch, and stick to your lines and lengths.

On the day that everything comes together for their fast bowlers, it is a rare sight for Indian fans. Like it was at the WACA against West Indies. Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav. Fast and fast. Bounding in. Bouncing batsmen. Beating them for pace. Beating them with seam movement. Hardly giving anything to hit. Relentless attack from both ends. Not letting the pressure break from either end, something they have done so infuriatingly often during away Tests.

"If you're leaking runs from one end, it's difficult to get wickets and contain batsmen from the other end," Dhoni said. "That's something that was happening quite regularly when it came to our bowling outside the subcontinent, but what the bowlers are doing really well right now is they are hunting in packs. We are backing one good over followed by another good over. That actually increases the pressure, and finally you get a wicket out of it."

The pitch was not easy to bat on, particularly early in the afternoon, as Dhoni said later. There was some variable bounce, he felt. There was also plenty of zip and carry. The ball thudding into the gloves of the keeper standing far back excites the crowd. It excites the Indian fast bowler more, who does not get to bowl on such pitches back home. 'I'll show them what I can do with some assistance.' Soon the ego comes in, and he can start banging it in short and wide looking for that one brute lifter. Or giving half volleys looking for that magic outswinger. Soon the batsmen are driving and pulling and cutting, and you are out of the attack.

That danger lurked at both ends for India in the form of Dwayne Smith and Chris Gayle, two opening batsmen who swat boundaries for fun. Shami and Yadav had the speed, the pitch had help; the discipline had to be there.

Shami's third ball of the game was short and wide. Smith slammed it past point for four. For the next seven overs, that was the only boundary West Indies were getting. In that time, they lost Smith and Marlon Samuels. Gayle lashed out with two fours and a six after those wickets, but holed out immediately after.

Shami's first delivery to Gayle had kicked from short of a length and squared him up, bringing an unsuccessful appeal for caught behind, although Snicko registered something.

It was a nagging in-between length that the Indians hit consistently. Gayle and Smith were stuck on the crease. They could not take a step forward and drive. Nor could they rock back and pull with certainty, with balls shooting up and past furiously.

West Indies do not believe much in the single and that allowed Shami and Yadav to work on their targets better. Smith and Gayle were reduced to the desperation of charging down the track so early in the game and having futile swipes.

There was just no space or release available. Neither Shami nor Yadav attempted anything too cute and the lack of cute never fails to impress Dhoni. "You have that tendency at times, 'Let me bowl slightly up, maybe I'll get a wicket.' But what we did really nicely was they kept hitting the back of a length area, and they made it slightly uncomfortable for the batsmen," Dhoni said. "They used the variable bounce in the first 10 really well, and Chris went for the big shots, and ultimately one of them didn't pay off. The good thing was they didn't try too many different things."

The current group of bowlers have travelled on a few tours now. They won nothing in South Africa and New Zealand. They won nothing in Australia coming into the World Cup. But through all those experiences, Dhoni believed that the importance of discipline over variety had started to seep in for his attack.

"It is something that you have to taste as a fast bowler, as a fast bowling unit, to start believing in that. When you come from the subcontinent you don't bowl a lot of overs, so whenever you get an opportunity to bowl, you look for wickets. You want to bowl six different deliveries. But when you start coming outside the subcontinent to places where the Kookaburra ball is used and if it stops swinging, you have to stick to the right length.

"I felt they learnt that and they have started believing in that as a unit, and that's why we see them not trying too many different things, keep hitting the same areas, and that's something that's really paying off."

Abhishek Purohit is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo