Dhoni for turning pitches

“What I would like to see is a first-day pitch like this one at the Wankhede stadium played on the fifth day,” the Indian captain told newsmen. “I want the wickets to turn from the very first day. That sets a bit of panic within the opposition dressing room and at the same time, you are under pressure to perform. That’s what makes it interesting. I am hoping that we stick to our kind of wickets that turn from the first day and don’t make the toss very important.”

The final day of the Test series was dramatic with 17 wickets going down and the teams finishing level on runs scored even through the game was drawn. Was it a scenario he envisaged at the start of play, when the West Indies resumed at 81 for two, 189 ahead? “Not really,” Dhoni replied. “What we told ourselves was that in the first hour, we will look for wickets because otherwise, the more runs they add, we will get less time to chase. But the bowlers bowled really well and we were able to get them all out before lunch. That gave us the opportunity to chase down the target.”

Dhoni said he had no idea why the ball began to jump and turn at the start of the fifth morning. “Frankly, I really don’t know what happened,” he began, still looking perplexed.
“It started to turn in the morning. Till yesterday, everything was fine. It was among the flattest of wickets and something happened in the morning and started to turn. Most of us thought it would be a draw but it turned into a close game.”

Reflecting on the Indian chase, he remarked, “Most of our dismissals came at the wrong time. Whenever we got a partnership going on, we lost a wicket. The pressure was back on us and we again were able to develop partnerships. It was a wicket where staying on it was easy, but it was difficult to score runs. Most of the batsmen who got out were those who were playing shots. But it was a good game of cricket at the end of the day.”
For those trying to point a finger at Ravichandran Ashwin not seriously attempting a second run off the last delivery that would have given India victory, Dhoni had this message, “There was no second run there. He was run out by 75 percent of the pitch length, if he had run harder, he would have been run out by 50 percent!”

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