Kochi: India’s thumping 127-run victory on Tuesday may suggest that captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni had complete control over the match.
But surprisingly, Dhoni, at the post-match presentation ceremony, admitted that he misread the pitch. While the India captain thought the pitch to be flat one, the India spinners got enough turn to help the team to a comfortable win.
The following are excerpts
Mahendra Singh Dhoni: Everyone performed well. We didn’t get a good start, initially the openers were finding it difficult as the ball was seaming around a bit. Yuvraj and Kohli gave us the platform.
It seemed like a wicket that may flatten, we thought it will dry up and the spinners may not get much turn. Good that I was wrong and our spinners got turn. It was not a wicket where you could win the toss and bowl first.
The onus was on the batsmen. When I was batting with Raina, we thought let us look for 240 or 250, and then when we are settled, lets target 260… We ended up getting 25 more.
We have our own things to worry about. The last time we played well as a batting unit, our bowlers were more experienced, who knew what to do in the Powerplays and death overs, how to use the new balls. We’re going through a stage when we don’t have the same firepower when it comes to the bowling department. Our batting department has also not been able to convert those starts into big innings. But we’re fielding really well, and that’s a big positive for us.
If you look at the good side, our batsmen are getting starts. Yes, I would like them to convert their starts to a big innings so that it won’t put pressure on the rest.
Today’s performance was very important for Jadeja. Till now, he had done well as a bowler. He had scored runs, the fifties and forties, but it’s important for him to get these runs going, because it eases the pressure on the lower order.
He’s someone who can hit big sixes. This innings will really help him because, it will help him read the game, where he can hit the bowlers and what the bowlers are looking to do. We’re all really happy with the amount of runs he’s got for the side.
We need to groom the bowlers we have now, it’s not only about Bhuvneshwar. He is someone who can swing the ball both ways.
He is not exceptionally quick, but he bowls at a decent pace. He is quite street-smart, he knows where to bowl and what needs to be done. With a bit more exposure he can start executing the yorkers well and mix them up with the slower ones. And not to forget Shami.
He is someone who bowls at a good pace. So we need to keep going with these guys, back them and give them a bit of cushioning so that they become very good bowlers for us. These guys are doing a good job.
The Helicopter Shot fetches me a lot of runs. It’s not an easy shot to play with a heavy bat. It's something I used to play when I played with the tennis ball. That’s something everybody plays in India and everyone thinks he is Sachin Tendulkar. That has really helped me, especially to have good command in the last 10 overs when the bowlers are looking for yorkers, or even the short-pitched delivery, which you can flick.
The next game is in my city, Ranchi, and it will be very special. I think the wicket was a perfect Test wicket, something for the fast bowlers and some turn for the spinners.
It’s a bit unfair for the spinners to bowl with one extra fielder inside. It becomes difficult for the spinners to contain the batsmen in the last 10 overs, especially if the opposition have wickets in hand.
It’s a bit unfair on bowlers, but over the years we have seen bowlers adjusting to it.
Ravindra Jadeja: I enjoyed my batting… The wicket was good. The ball was coming on and I tried to play cricketing shots. I played for Kochi in the IPL in 2011, so I knew the wicket was a bit slow. But once you get in, you can score runs. Mahibhai was telling me ‘don’t throw away your wicket’. While bowling, I was talking to Rainabhai, I said ‘the ball is turning, so I might get wickets on this surface’.