Mellowed Sreesanth augurs well for us: Dhoni

Mellowed Sreesanth augurs well for us: Dhoni

Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni returns to the pavilion after winning the match on the fourth day of the second cricket test between India and Sri Lanka in Kanpur (AP)

Back from 19 months of international wilderness, Sreesanth's five-wicket haul in the first innings pushed Sri Lanka into follow-on and India thumped the islanders inside four days to win the second cricket Test here on Friday.

Dhoni was effusive in his praise for Sreesanth who seemed to have mastered his emotions that landed him in soup so many times in the past.

"He definitely has cut down (on his antics). Hopefully he would maintain that. As long as he does not cross the line, it's good not just for him personally but also for the team. He was aggressive but in a different way.

"He controlled his emotion and that is very important. Hopefully he will continue like this in future," Dhoni said of the pacer, whose past is littered with on-field brawls and frequent disciplinary hearings.

"Sree bowled really well. I don't think anybody expected a seamer to run away with a five-wicket haul but he did. Of course luck was on our side. We got a run out and some inside edges found the stumps. But he still came steaming in and bowled in good areas," Dhoni said.

Sreesanth replaced off-colour Ishant Sharma in the playing XI and Dhoni said it was his grasp over reverse swing that won the volatile pacer a place in the team.

"Sree was bowling well in the nets. When we saw the ground, we knew we would have reverse swing. Sree and Zaheer (Khan) are two of the best reverse swing bowlers we have got. Even with the old ball, Sree can swing it both ways and that gives him an edge," Dhoni explained.

While Sreesanth's spectacular return boosted India here, the hosts would be without their in-form opener Gautam Gambhir in the third and final Test in Mumbai from December 2 since the left-hander would be attending his sister's marriage on December 3.

Dhoni said whoever replaces Gambhir should be able to give India a good start. "It's difficult to say (how much the team would miss Gambhir). But there are times when you have to adjust to situations. These are things we cannot do much about. We are a side that depend a lot on good starts and whoever opens with Sehwag should be able to do that," he said.

Looking back at the Test, Dhoni said winning the toss proved crucial but there was hardly anything to complain about. "It was a good toss to win. The track was at its best for batting on day one. It got slower and slower as the game progressed. But our batsmen did a good job. When you win the toss and bat first, you want to put up big scores, which we did ," Dhoni said.

"Then you want a couple of early wickets from the pacers and for us, Sree was bowling at his best, using the reverse swing to good effect. Our spinners also did a good job -- (Pragyan) Ojha claiming four in his debut Test. His was a good debut and got wickets whenever we needed. Harbhajan (Singh) also bowled well," Dhoni said.

"I think we are playing to our potentials, all departments are clicking and everyone is playing their role to perfection," the Indian captain summed it up.

Dhoni said it was a proud moment to lead India to its 100th Test win and he thanked his teammates and former players.

"It's a privilege but it was possible, for 250-odd cricketers came and play for India before, and some after me. I got this opportunity because of their contribution. I'm thankful to all current and former players," he said.

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