Dhoni offers Windies hope after India victory

Dhoni offers Windies hope after India victory

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni elected to offer words of comfort to the West Indies after seeing his side record a 63-run victory in the first Test.

By (AFP)

Published: Fri 24 Jun 2011, 10:27 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 6:34 PM

“I will not make the mistake by saying that this opposition is not good enough,” he said.

“Every batsman can score runs. Their first seven batters have the talent that equally matches that of the current Indian team.”

Dhoni, the World Cup and Indian Premier League-winning captain, was particularly impressed by the contribution of West Indies leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo.

Indian pair Harbhajan Singh and Amit Mishra proved to be the tourists’ match-winners, but Bishoo also shone, picking up seven wickets.

“Bishoo kept bowling in the right areas,” said Dhoni. “There was a fair degree of turn in the first innings, but as the game progressed, that turn was not there.

“The Indian spinners found it a bit difficult because of the strong breeze across the field. But as the game went on, they adapted well and began bowling better.”

Man of the match Rahul Dravid and Test newcomer Praveen Kumar caught the eye for the visitors, but Dhoni singled out other members of his side for praise.

“Our lower-half batsmen for the past year and a half have been contributing well,” he said.

“We were 85 for six in the first innings before Harbhajan, along with Suresh Raina, bailed us out. In the second innings, Mishra made a telling contribution.”

Harbhajan and Raina added 146 for the seventh wicket in the first innings to help India reach 246.

Mishra and Dravid then put on 56 for the ninth wicket to take India to 252 in their second innings, leaving West Indies to chase 326 for victory.

“But for that stand (Raina and Harbhajan), we could have been all out for 150,” Dhoni said.

“We were able to get more runs and thus gather a handy lead. Then in the second innings, we could stretch the lead to 300-plus.

“Three-hundred was always going to be a difficult score to chase in the fourth innings. They were off to a flyer, but wickets always slow down the momentum, and we were able to apply pressure on their middle order.”

Dhoni was also fulsome in his praise of Dravid’s batting in the second innings, as well as the bowling of Kumar throughout the match.

“Dravid has been an exceptional batsman for India,” he said.

“That he played over 250 deliveries showed he was very patient. He made the bowlers pitch in his areas, and was brilliant.

“Praveen is a very skilful bowler and can swing it either way. He doesn’t have the pace, but he can swing the ball, and confuse the batsmen if they needed to play or leave a delivery.

“He showed great character after having been stopped from bowling in the first innings. When you are switching from the 10-over format to 20 to 25 overs in an innings, you have to be careful.

“Importantly, he backed his strength and picked up wickets in the second innings as well.”

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