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Need to work on batting: Dhoni

Calcutta: Mahendra Singh Dhoni blamed the batsmen after crashing to an innings and 54-run defeat inside three days at Old Trafford on Saturday.

“I think even in the first innings, we weren’t up to the mark as far as our batting was concerned. I feel our batting has not really clicked so far in this series… We need to get better,” the Team India captain said during the presentation.

“We have to work on our batting for the next Test. We have played with five bowlers more often than not and that fifth bowler is the one who has contributed with the bat. There are a lot of reasons for these defeats.

“If you look at our batting, our No. 7, 8 and 9 have all scored while the top-order has not been among the runs. Our lower-order has camouflaged the performance of our top six,” Dhoni remarked.

India batted for a total of only 89.4 overs in the fourth Test (46.4 in the first innings and 43 in the second innings).

Dhoni said some players were going through a lean patch. “Many of the players are going through lean patches. We need to remember that outside India, this was the batting line-up that did well till being here.

“We have had some tough sessions, although the pitches have been very good in this series. The wicket here was not that difficult to bat on, most of the wickets were good except at Lord’s… Good wickets were provided… Not much variable bounce here, which made the job easy for our batsmen… But we needed to show more application.”

He defended Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli despite their insipid performances.

“Consistently, we are exposing Pujara to face the new ball as he goes in after only three or four overs… Our openers are not putting up decent partnerships, which in turn is putting Pujara under pressure as he has to face the new ball. That said, this is a challenge for him and it will improve him as a cricketer.

“Virat is going through a lean period. He has had couple of great years across all formats, but every cricketer has gone through this phase in his career. Personally, I feel he’s middling the ball well, but sometimes you face good balls that lead to your undoing... You do go through these patches…

“It is important to spend time in the middle, though. It’s important to make the bowler bowl towards you instead of you going towards the ball.”

He praised Varun Aaron who took three wickets in the first innings.