We did not panic, says Dhoni

Skipper hails the ability to stitch together regular partnerships

We did not panic, says Dhoni

 Gautam Gambhir                                    
The drawn first Test between India and Sri Lanka yielded nearly 1600 runs for the loss of just 21 wickets. “The wicket was quite flat, but I wouldn’t say it was the flattest wicket I have seen,” the Indian skipper told newsmen after having made them wait for more than an hour as he played a game of football with his team-mates.

“It was on the slower side, so it wasn’t of much help to the spinners or to the fast bowlers.”

Amit Mishra and Harbhajan Singh together had match figures of three for 392 from 106.4 overs, but Dhoni chose to derive comfort from his batsmen having denied Muttiah Muralitharan any success. “I am satisfied with our spinners,” he remarked.

“Muralitharan was in the opposition, he is the greatest we will see. Even he didn’t get the bounce or turn he is known for.

“I think we are at par with any side that has got good spinners. One thing for sure, however, is that in this game, their spinners made it difficult for the batsmen to score. They didn’t experiment much once they knew that there was not much help for them. That’s one area where they were slightly better than us.”

Welcoming the return from injury of Zaheer Khan, Dhoni went on, “He has been our mainstay for a while now. He brings in controlled aggression. Even on the flattest of tracks, he looks to take wickets. He gives his best, he bowls long spells, so it is always good to have a bowler like him in the side. Also, Ishant looked in good rhythm. The more he bowled, the more consistent he was with his line and length. If we had got some reverse swing, we could have put more pressure on their batsmen.”

Dhoni said he had always been confident that India would be able to save the Test despite being 334 in arrears in the first innings.

“We needed a good partnership at the start of the innings, so we knew if we didn’t give them early wickets, it would be very difficult for them to get 10 wickets. That’s exactly what happened, there was no question of panic.”

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