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Lara asked me to leave ground: Dhoni

The final decision to walk off the field was left up to him, said the wicketkeeper-batsman.

india Updated: Jun 08, 2006 16:44 IST

India wicketkeeper-batsman Mahendra Dhoni disclosed that West Indies captain Brian Lara asked him to walk off, and he did, after he was controversially caught on the fourth day in the opening Test at the Antigua Recreation Ground on Monday.

West Indies fielder Daren Ganga appeared to hold a spiralling that would have dismissed Dhoni, but umpires Asad Rauf and Simon Taufel however, referred to TV Replay umpire Billy Doctrove to legitimize the catch.

The umpires wanted to check that Ganga had not stepped on the boundary ropes in completing the catch, but the TV replays however, were inconclusive and the umpires ruled in the favour of Dhoni, who was trying to hit a fourth successive six off left-arm chinaman bowler Dave Mohammed.

"I talked to the umpires and they said they were not really sure and would be consulting with the third umpire," Dhoni said.

"Brian then came up to me and said he was taking charge of his players, so he thought I should walk off."

"He said whatever his players said it would be the truth, so then I decided I should walk off from the field. That means he was taking the responsibility for his players, and they were speaking the truth," Dhoni added.

All but 17 of Dhoni's 69 off 52 balls in an hour of batting came in boundaries comprising four fours and half-dozen sixes that helped India declared at 521 for six, leaving West Indies a victory target of 392.

"Brian called Daren over, and Daren said he was not entirely sure because it was his behind him because I think it is really hard to feel a paper if you step on it," said Dhoni, referring to the cardboard advertising that forms part of the boundary rope.

"He was not entirely sure about if he had taken the catch. He said he wasn't sure if he stepped on the boundary."

Dhoni said the final decision to walk off was left up to him and Mohammed Kaif on the field, and no instructions came from the Indian dressing room.

Not before an incensed Lara challenged the decision, and a second attempt was made to make a decision with the help of the TV replays, but they were again inconclusive.

Lara then angrily snatched the ball from umpire Asad Rauf and walked away to resume play, but Indian skipper Rahul Dravid put both sides out of their misery by making the declaration.

"I think I accepted the fielder's words and I came back to the pavilion," he said.

"I think it's a topic that should be left alone. We have had enough of it. We have 90 overs left in the game, and we are chatting more on this than chatting on my dismissal."

"I think it is still a good match. They still need 379 more runs, and they have 90 overs to bat. It is still a good pitch to bat on. It has eased out a bit from how it played on the first day and so we expect a pretty good battle," he added.

"We have Anil Kumble in our side and he is a most difficult bowler to bat particularly on the fifth day."

Dhoni indicated that the ARG pitch suited his enterprising stroke play, rather than the slower surfaces that existed during the preceding five-match ODI series that West Indies won 4-1, so enjoyed his knock.

"In the ODIs, the pitches were quite slow particularly when I went into bat, the ball was quite old, and not coming on to the bat, and it was hard to score runs off," he said.

"This was a good pitch. The ball was coming onto the bat and when the spinners were bowling, it was good, flat and comfortable for my strokes."

West Indies closed the day on 13 without loss.