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MS Dhoni was the difference between the two sides, feels Shane Watson

MS Dhoni was the difference between the two sides, feels Shane Watson

Shane Watson batted at number four in the first innings and was the opener in the second essay against India in the first Test at Chennai © Getty Images

Chennai: Feb 25, 2013

Australian batsman Shane Watson praised Indian captain MS Dhoni’s heroic efforts to put the game beyond the visitors and felt that he was the reason why the game slipped out of Australia’s hand after fourth day’s play of the first Test between India and Australia at Chennai.

India took a crucial lead of 192 in the first innings and have reduced Australia to 232 for 9 at the close of play on Saturday.

“I think it really came down to MS Dhoni. The way he batted was amazing to watch, really. With the way he took on the game and kept going for so long, he changed the game significantly. That was the big turning point of this match. He batted beautifully and put India in the position they are now,” Watson said in an interview with bcci.tv

Talking about Australia’s strategy and the possible way ahead, Watson felt that the option of playing two spinners could be considered.

“I think that might come into consideration, especially after seeing the way this wicket panned out and at times, how difficult it was for our quicks to penetrate. A second spinner will come into calculation in the second Test knowing that Hyderabad track can turn quite a bit as well. I’m sure we’ll be thinking about that.”

Watson, who batted at number four in the first innings had to open in the second essay after David Warner was down with sickness. On whether he had to change his mindset and game plan, he said, “No, you’ve just got to go with it. It was unfortunate that Dave [Warner] had a little bit of sickness through that period of time. In such situations you have to reset your mind very quickly for opening the batting. Also, it’s something that I enjoy doing, although I wasn’t able to bat as long as I’d have liked. But it didn’t really affect me at all.”

Watson, who gave up bowling and travelled to India as a specialist batsman due to recurring calf injury spoke about how tough a decision it was for him.

“It’s just for this Test series as I’ve just come back from my calf injury. It’s been a tough decision. Yesterday was a very tough day personally for me to not be in a position where I could bowl. As an all-rounder one thing I like to do most is contribute to the team especially when the chips are down. Yesterday probably reaffirmed to me that I’m certainly not giving up my bowling for good because I did miss it. So, I’m just going to try and find a bit of form with the bat and give my body some time to get back to the state where I can bowl.”

“I’ve spoken to Michael [Clarke] and coach Mickey Arthur to find the best balance wherein I can give the team what’s required with the ball without getting injured and continue to contribute with the bat at my best too. In the end it’s just the matter of finding the perfect balance of the number of overs I bowl. But yes, I missed bowling yesterday so I will do what it takes to strengthen my body in a way that it can handle the load of bowling,” he added.

Talking about adjusting to life in the middle-order, Watson said, ” I’ve made a few little adjustments. It’s been nice to see my improvement batting against spin in recent times. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to show that for a long period of time in this Test match but I have made some adjustments that will pay dividends in the long run. I’m trying to use my feet a lot to the spinners compared to just sitting in the crease which I used to do. It gives me a few more scoring options and helps me put pressure on the bowler. I’ve made technical and mindset changes from when I played Test cricket here in the past.”

Asked whether having played a lot of cricket in India is added responsibility for him, he said, “It certainly is. I’ve been very lucky to have played a lot of cricket in India in all formats of the game. Test cricket here, especially, is very different from the way we play at home. So, I’ve been helping out the younger guys as much as I can. It’s a big challenge even for those who have here before and more so for the first-timers. We will all learn from our experience in this Test match and we will definitely improve in the second.”

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