Dhoni remains buoyant

MS Dhoni

“We don’t really do well in the first Test,” the Indian captain conceded. “In most of the Test series, the first Test has often gone bad, but after that, we have come back really well. We are back to a start we are quite used to, hopefully we will cope with that in the two remaining games.”

While Dhoni was buoyed by the second-innings batting fightback after a disastrous first-innings effort, the bowling didn’t leave the Jharkhandi too amused. “When we bowled, the wicket was different to the first-day wicket but we bowl on flatter tracks and are expected to get sides out. Not getting them all out is an area of concern because to win a Test, you have to get 20 wickets. Also, we couldn’t tie the batsmen down and bring down the rate of scoring. That was also a worrying factor.”

Throwing light on the positives, Dhoni went on, “It’s not a situation of panic. What is important is to stick to your basics, to your plans. Most of the batsmen got off to good starts, which we will need in Durban. Apart from the first day, we batted really well. When we began batting in the second innings, we had to get 450-plus just to avoid innings defeat. We were under pressure; it may be a flat track but handling that pressure is very difficult. That’s definitely a big positive.”

Expressing the optimism that Zaheer Khan would be fit for the next Test, Dhoni said Zaheer brought more to the table than just wickets. “He’s been bowling for the last few days and hopefully, he’ll be back. It’s not that whenever Zaheer plays, he always gets wickets. But what is good with him is the amount of experience he has, and the way he comes up with new plans and changes his plans during the course of the game.”

Dhoni said South Africa didn’t win the Test match merely because they won the toss. “The first two sessions were going to be very important because the wicket was very different and as I said, the toss was crucial. But winning the toss is only the job half done. They bowled well after that. They got us out and got a good wicket to bat on. They batted well -- the openers got them off to a good start and the midlle order capitalised.”

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