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‘Won the toss, lost everything else’

With the series all but lost, Dhoni refuses to play the blame game, writes Akshay Sawai.
Hindustan Times | By Akshay Sawai, Vadodara
UPDATED ON OCT 11, 2007 11:02 PM IST

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni admitted the team had done little right except winning the toss in their fifth one-dayer against Australia here on Thursday.

“Except Sachin (Tendulkar) and the last wicket partnership between Zaheer (Khan) and RP (Singh), we did not put up enough runs,” the wicketkeeper said. “When bowling, we did not get the early breakthroughs that we were hoping for.”

Harbhajan Singh opened the bowling for India. Asked whose idea it was, Dhoni smiled like a child confessing a prank and said, “Mine. The wicket was turning square and he bowled well. But he could not get the wickets. We beat their batsmen at times but could not get the edges.”

Asked what it was that the Australian bowlers did right, Dhoni said, “They were hitting the right areas. Mitchell Johnson has been bowling consistently well. He is special because he is one left-arm seamer who bowls at 145kmph-plus.”

Dhoni praised Tendulkar’s effort. “It was as if he was batting on one wicket and the rest on another.”

He said it would have been difficult to score 300-plus on the wicket at the Reliance Ground. “It was more like a 240-wicket,” he said.

No comment on Dravid

Dhoni declined to speak about Rahul Dravid’s nought and his poor form overall in the series. “No comments,” he said when asked about the former captain’s dry run. It was Dravid’s second zero of the series. In the other two matches he scored 31 and 13. Dhoni also refused to explain his predecessor’s changing batting positions.

Played to a plan: Ponting

Australian captain Ricky Ponting acknowledged the contributions of Johnson, Adam Gilchrist and Brett Lee in the team’s handsome victory and said his bowlers had a specific plan for the Indian batsmen.

“We got a bit lucky with Yuvraj Singh’s wicket. Otherwise, we had a plan for everyone and executed it,” Ponting said. “We tightened up on the things that we did not do too well in Chandigarh. This was our best performance in this series.”

Ponting complimented Tendulkar for his innings, especially his driving. Otherwise, he said, Australia succeeded in putting pressure on India with early wickets.

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