Batting made the difference: Dhoni
For someone who seldom gets overawed by the situation, MS Dhoni was a bundle of nerves as India struggled to chase down a target of 133, set by the Australians on the final day of the third Test here on Monday.
“Yes, it got close,” admitted Dhoni who played a series of dot deliveries off Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc during his 33-ball 13-run association with Sachin Tendulkar. India finally managed to scamper home with 15 balls to spare with Dhoni plundering three consecutive fours off Starc. “If you see I don’t gamble but the stakes were high in the sense that we had everything to lose and literally we had nothing to gain. Yes, there was a satisfaction that we are winning one more Test match but if the Aussies had won, it would have given them a chance to come back into the series,” the Indian skipper said later.
Shikhar Dhawan’s absence through a finger injury had left India a batsman less. “The fact that we were one batsman less and the fact that from number 7 to 11 we hadn’t exactly scored a lot of runs... All these things play at the back of your head. It was important that batsmen, who are set, take you through the last 3-4 overs. Even if we need six runs an over for 3-4 overs, you can try to explode. Even if you lose a few wickets, it doesn’t really matter but that was not the case.”
Asked how big was the temptation to go for a 4-0 whitewash, Dhoni stressed on being realistic. “You have to see the stakes. Everyone wants to win a one million dollar lottery but it depends on whether you buy a ticket for five dollars or 500 dollars. So, it all depends on that. You have to weigh in everything. Because what you want is a series win to start with and that’s the most crucial thing that you want. It doesn’t matter what has happened in last series,” he reasoned.
Comparing India’s performance against England who won the series 2-1 a few months ago, Dhoni said it was the batting that is making the difference. “You learn from mistakes and try to better yourself as a side. If you look at England, in that series we did not score runs consistently. It’s important to put runs on board for the bowlers (to do well). The pressure of 500-550 runs is a very different. And if you observe, in cricket it’s reflective of each others’ performance. If you bowl well then your batsmen also start batting well,” he analysed.
Dhoni was sought his opinion on the inexperienced look of Australia. “It’s difficult to say, the guy who scored 99 (Mitchell Starc) is as less experienced as some of the other batsmen. You can’t really blame it on that. Especially on this wicket, I felt this was the best wicket to bat on compared to last three Test matches we have played.”