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It's time for top order to fire: Dhoni

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was on Sunday unsparing in his criticism of the top order batsmen even as his team put up a gallant fight before going down to Australia.

cricket Updated: Feb 25, 2008 02:28 IST

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was on Sunday unsparing in his criticism of the top order batsmen even as his team put up a gallant fight before going down to Australia in their crucial cricket tri-series game in Sydney.

"The run-making for the top order hasn't been the story till now and it could make things so much easier for the lower order batsmen," said Dhoni as his side succumbed to a narrow 18-run defeat.

"I am quite happy for the bowlers. They bore their responsibility well. I just hope that the top order could have contributed a little bit more to the total."

India's top four wickets, including the ones of openers Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, have been falling cheaply and Dhoni said he was open to shuffle in the order if it was needed. And the axe could fall on Sehwag.

"We have a few options, (Robin) Uthappa can open with Sachin but the way Gautam (Gambhir) has settled in at number three, I don't want to disturb him."

Dhoni didn't think he did anything wrong by playing cautiously throughout his innings even when faced with such a big target.

"At that time one more wicket and there was a very good chance of we ending up with 150 or 180 runs," he said.

The young Indian captain nevertheless was delighted with the effort of his young batsmen, as well as their selfless approach.

"It was a very good effort. First from our bowlers who kept Australia down to 320 which we thought was gettable. The part-timers bowled very well and kept the pressure off regular bowlers," Dhoni said.

"As for the selfless batting by young batters, we need 16 like them, not those who go for individual 50s and 100s. You need characters in the side."

Looking ahead at the Hobart match against Sri Lanka on Tuesday, Dhoni emphasised he wanted to seal a place in the finals in that game itself.

"In any case, we would like to seal the match against Sri Lanka and not leave it to the last game between Australia and Sri Lanka. Next game is very important for us."

He also hoped for an improvement in his luck with the coin. "May be I will have a coin from Sholay, where either way you win," said the calm-headed Indian captain.

Australian captain Ricky Ponting was also wholesome in his praise for the young Indian team.

"They are always a very talented and skillful side, whether the boys are young or seniors.

"Gambhir played really well, he worked the ball around and hit clean shots. His running between the wickets was also noticeable. Same with Uthappa.

"I do feel that when the next World Cup comes around, they would have a good side at their command, guys who would have played 80 or 100 matches."

Ponting was happy for his century as well as the return to form of Matthew Hayden and Andrew Symonds.

"We always had the game in control. We relaxed a little bit after we got their four early wickets.

"Still Gambhir and Uthappa played brilliantly and we can't take away anything from them," he said.