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India tour of England 2014: MS Dhoni wants wickets with more life in them

MS Dhoni was out early in to leave India in a spot of bother on Day Five of the first Test © Getty Images
MS Dhoni was out early in to leave India in a spot of bother on Day Five of the first Test © Getty Images

By Chetan Narula

Nottingham: Jul 13, 2014

Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has lauded his bowling attack for its performance in the first Test versus England, which fizzled out to a tame draw on an unresponsive pitch here today, while also lauding Stuart Binny and Ravindra Jadeja on their partnership, which came at a time when India were in trouble of being bowled out early.

The visitors scored 457 and 391/9d in their two innings while the hosts were bowled out for 496 in their only essay. “We cannot control the pitch. We have to make do of what we have and there have been a lot of positives in this match,” said Dhoni. “The bowlers did really well on especially on a wicket like this. Even in bowling 160 overs they kept their intensity and put in a lot of effort. Each of them bowled nearly 25 to 30 to 35 overs and yet they kept running in.”

“Overall our batting looked good too. Murali Vijay did really well and the others as well. Some batsmen get off to a great start in their careers and others take time. It is not always about results. If you look at the previous few tours, there has been a lot of improvement in our batsmen,” he added.

The pitch was the central theme of the Test match and it was devoid of any help to the bowlers at all, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar scoring two half-centuries, Binny, Mohammad Shami and James Anderson scoring maiden Test fifties. Anderson was also involved in a world record 198-run stand with Joe Root who scored 154 runs. This was after Vijay set the tone with his 146 runs in the first innings.

“When you play overseas, you want to play on pitches that are suited to the home conditions. When you go to India you don’t want flat tracks but turning pitches because scoring runs on those pitches it gives you pleasure. In South Africa you want to play on seaming tracks and do well there. In England you want pitches and conditions that suit swing bowling. Hopefully going forward wickets will have more life in them,” said the Indian skipper.

But even on such a lifeless pitch thanks to the Root-Anderson stand, India were in trouble early on day five and battled hard to save the Test. This is where their all-rounder experiment bore fruit with Binny scoring his first Test fifty and helping the team out of danger.

“The partnership between Binny and Jadeja  was very vital. There was still half a day remaining and we didn’t have enough runs on the board, so we could have struggled at that juncture. So we needed them to bat well and they did. Not many of our players have experience of batting under pressure and saving Test matches, so this match serves as a nice experience for them,” Dhoni said.

Talking about Binny’s role, he further added, “Binny’s role was affected because the wicket hampered his bowling style. With Jadeja bowling on the flat pitch he bowled only 10 overs. So I was not forced to give Binny many overs. Overall it still helped keep the bowlers fresh and he could have more to do if there is life in the pitch going forward.

“Also, we don’t usually play five bowlers in overseas Tests but that has hampered our bowling in the past and we haven’t been able to win matches when we should have. So our batsmen will have to take more responsibility if we need to keep playing five bowlers, whether it is Binny or someone like R Ashwin,” Dhoni signed off.

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