Need to get into Test mode: Dhoni

'We are always under pressure'

Mahendra Singh Dhoni admitted it would be crucial for his team to shift to the Test mindset quickly. “There are quite a few players who have been playing one-day international cricket for quite some time now,” the Indian skipper told newsmen. “There have been opportunities for the guys who are part of the Test side only to play county cricket and Ranji Trophy games. Apart from a few batsmen, I don’t think it will be a major factor. But yes, the approach has to be different. The last game against Australia was washed out, so we had some time to mentally tune ourselves and get ready for Test cricket.”

India have never lost a Test match at home to Sri Lanka. A simple series win will make the Lankans the number one Test side, India will hit the top if they win 2-0. “The Indian team and pressure go hand in hand,” Dhoni pointed out. “I have not played a series where it was said that we were not under pressure. We play the best side in the world, we are under pressure. We play the lowest ranked side in the ratings, then also we are under pressure. We aren’t bothered too much about that. We will try to the best of our potential to make sure Sri Lanka are not able to create history here.”

Dhoni refused to read too much into India’s debacle at this venue last year, when they were shot out for 76 by South Africa. “That was a long time back. We didn’t play well in the first session and we lost the game, but I don’t think we have got any bad memories. This looks a good wicket, on the flatter side.”

How well Sri Lanka’s spinners adapt to bowling the SG ball, Dhoni noted, would be interesting to see. “Murali has got the experience of bowling in India. Bu bowling in India means using the SG ball. It will be interesting to see how their other spinners bowl with that ball.”

Refusing to confirm which of Ishant Sharma or S Sreesanth would partner Zaheer Khan, Dhoni said, “In these conditions, it becomes difficult for the fast bowlers when the wicket gets flat, the ball doesn’t reverse and stops swinging. Experience will count at that point. It is important to see what form a bowler is in, we must decide who is best suited for the conditions.”

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