Dhoni to batsmen: take initiative
After an abject failure of his batting line-up, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Sunday minced no words in telling the Indian batsmen to take more responsibility.
The Indian pacers stuck to their task to restrict the strong Australian batting line-up to a modest 203 for nine but the batsmen messed it up as the visitors crashed to a 50-run defeat in the tri-series one-dayer in Adelaide.
Dhoni said the batsmen should back each other and focus on not losing early wickets.
"It's important that the batsmen take more responsibility. The guys must take the initiative when we are playing with five bowlers and one batsman short," Dhoni said after the match.
"Especially in these conditions, it's important not to lose any wicket till the 12th over. Because after that the Kukaboora gets softer and comes on to the bat. It's a learning experience that in international cricket you have to give your best," he said.
Dhoni said his getting run out was the turning point of the match and blamed it on Rohit Sharma, who was running for his captain but could not make the ground.
"It was bad reaction from Rohit. Even with the cramps I could have run and made it easily," he said.
Dhoni defended the move to send Irfan Pathan up the batting order.
"It gives more depth to the batting as the rest of the order stays as it is. After him, Rohit comes at No 4, then Yuvi (Yuvraj Singh), me and Robin (Uthappa) at seven. I am happy with the order," he said.
Dhoni, however, expressed concern over the form of speedster S Sreesanth and hoped the Kerala speedster would find his rhythm sooner than later.
"Sreesanth is a rhythm bowler, now he is not getting his rhythm. It's very important for him to get his rhythm back. It was because of the two washed out games, the bowlers did not get to bowl in the second spells."
Talking about their next game against Sri Lanka on Tuesday, the Indian captain said his team still had a chance to make the finals.
"It's not a major problem. At international level, whichever team you play you are under pressure. But it's important to do your best...Still it's an open tournament," he said.
Dhoni's opposite number Ricky Ponting credited his bowlers for making up for his batsmen's lapses.
"It's a similar situation (like the previous game against India) with us not batting very well. We have not played as well. But our bowlers did well and we were sharp on the field and took early wickets. But they played one batsman short," he said.
Man of the match Michael Clarke, who scored a dilligent 79 to take the Aussie past the 200-mark, said he was disappointed to miss out on a hundred.
"I was disappointed to get out at that stage. We were eyeing at a 220-plus score. But tonight 200 was enough."
He praised the Aussie bowlers for turning the tide on the Indians.
"Our bowlers did a fantastic job. Full credit to them ...But our intent was positive," he said.