Shikhar Dhawan defends Indian cricket team spinners after Johannesburg ODI loss
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Shikhar Dhawan defends Indian cricket team spinners after Johannesburg ODI loss

Shikhar Dhawan said that it was a rare off-day for Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav as the spinners were hammered by South Africa batsmen in the Johannesburg ODI on Saturday.

cricket Updated: Feb 11, 2018 13:07 IST
Khurram Habib
Khurram Habib
Hindustan Times, Johannesburg
South Africa vs India,Shikhar Dhawan,Johannesburg
South Africa batsmen had no problems in playing the Indian cricket team spinners as they guided their team to victory in Johannesburg on Saturday.(AP)

India opener Shikhar Dhawan had a bittersweet outing on Saturday. He became the first Indian to score a century in his 100th ODI but the effort went up in smoke as the South Africans came back in a resounding manner to thrash their nemesis, the Indian spinners and stay alive in the series. (HIGHLIGHTS)

Dhawan, who also became the highest run-getter for India and the second highest in the world after 100 ODIs, blamed the rain break during the South African innings that caused the outfield to get wet. (SCORECARD)

“It makes a difference when the ball gets wet. The spinners cannot turn it that much and that made a difference for us. Of course, South Africans played very well,” said Dhawan after the match.

“We dropped a catch, then a wicket came off a no-ball (both chances went to David Miller). The momentum changed from there. Otherwise, we were in a very good position. But the rain had an impact too. Our Spinners couldn’t turn the ball or grip the ball the way they did in the last three matches. That’s the main reason why we lost.”

While India have usually fancied themselves chasing whenever they win the toss, the decision to bat first came as a surprise. Dhawan said that the conditions were taken into consideration while deciding to bat.

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“We thought that the ball swings a bit in the evening breeze which is why we decided to bat first. The wicket gets faster as the deck gets hard. It had extra bounce too. “Unfortunately it rained (during South African innings), and that made a bit of a difference. Miller, of course, played very well. Luck was on his side though. At first, he got dropped and then got bowled off a no-ball. Usually our spinners don’t bowl no-balls. But that happens. He took that chance with both hands and changed the momentum of the game,” said Dhawan.

Defending the young spinners who went for plenty --- Kuldeep conceded 51 runs in his six overs while Chahal cost 68 runs in 5.3 overs, the India opener said they just had an off day and were a bit unlucky.

“They are young and have been bowling very well. Anyone can have a bad day. These two have won three games for us. Sometimes, luck favours the opposition too and not just our side. It favoured Miller. It’s not a thing that happens every time. It is important to go through failures too to learn in your life. It’s just one loss. We’ve already won three games so one more game and we’re through.”

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During their turn at the crease, India had looked like getting to 350 when both Dhawan and Kohli were batting. However, the momentum broke after Kohli was dismissed and the players went off due to a break caused by thunder and lightning. Dhawan said the break during their batting hurt them.

“We were batting in a flow when there was a break (due to thunder and lightning) for an half-an-hour to an hour and our flow was broken. After that I got out. Then the runs didn’t come at the same pace. But that doesn’t mean the total was bad. But once it rained again, the outfield became wet.”

First Published: Feb 11, 2018 08:27 IST