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Ishant responded well to getting new ball: Dhoni

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni says young fast bowler Ishant Sharma's impressive performance in the Test series was the reason behind India's victory.
By HT Correspondent | PTI, Melbourne
UPDATED ON FEB 10, 2008 06:34 PM IST

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said young fast bowler Ishant Sharma's impressive performance in the Test series was the reason behind throwing the new ball to him, a strategy which resulted in the five-wicket win over Australia in the triseries one-dayer in on Sunday.

A delighted Dhoni was satisfied that the Delhi speedster rose to the occasion and grabbed the chance with both hands.

"He was the pick of the bowlers in the Test series. He was impressive, so I gave the new ball to him and he responded well," Dhoni said after the match.

"The pitch was on the slower side. So we thought to use Irfan (Pathan) later and he was good in the middle overs," Dhoni added.

Dhoni, who played a crucial knock of 17 not out and stitched a 58-run match winning partnership with Rohit Sharma (39 not out), said that after losing five wickets for 102 they waited for the part-time bowlers to come on.

"We were waiting for the part-timers to come. The kind of conditions we were in, we thought our chance would come and we should wait for the right moment," he said.

Dhoni said the improving outfields in India were the reason behind the rising fielding standard of his side.

"When I was 19 or 20, the grounds were not up to the mark. But now they are better. It is making a difference and the fielding standard has gone up," he said.

Australian skipper Ricky Ponting blamed his team's uncharacteristically poor batting for the defeat. "Our batting was poor. There was good pace and bounce and India bowled pretty well," he said.

Ponting said his team tried to stick to the gameplan, but it was not a good enough performance. After suffering his first defeat of the tri-series, Ponting said the tournament is nicely poised now. "It's shaping up well. The next couple of games is going to be important," he said.

Delighted after winning his first ODI man of the match award, Ishant said he was not overawed by the reputation of his opponents.

"I was not thinking about their strengths. Rather I was thinking about my strengths... I tried to bowl the right line and length and it helped," he said.

Asked how he came back after being hit for 18 runs in an over, Ishant said," Sachin bhai came to me and said do not think too much and bowl normally."

Ishant said he was enjoying his bowling as he was now in perfect rhythm. "The rhythm is important. That's how I could bowl with the new ball and the rhythm has helped me to get over the problem of no-balls."

The 19-year-old acknowledged the role of the senior players and trainer Gregory King in the increase in his speed and improved performance.

"When I came to Australia I just thought I would do my best and give my 100 per cent. I have become more consistent and the seniors helped me. They told me about the nature of the wickets.

"Credit also goes to trainer Greg King for increase in my speed," he said.

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