Dhoni praises Sreesanth

Skipper hopes paceman will not slip into old habits

Dhoni praises Sreesanth


Sreesanth took five for 75 to set up India’s biggest win over Sri Lanka, by an innings and 144 runs on Friday, on his way to the man of the match award. “He bowled really well,” the Indian captain told newsmen. “I don’t think anybody thought it was a wicket where a seamer would get five wickets. It was a fantastic performance from him. He was steaming in and bowling at his best, putting pressure on the batsmen.

“He has and hopefully he will maintain that,” Dhoni remarked of Sreesanth’s changed demeanour on the field. “Till he doesn’t cross the line, it is good for everyone -- for him, for the captain, for the players and for match referees too! He played this Test in a very different way. He was aggressive but at the same time, he controlled his emotions. The way he looked in this Test, he will be fine.”

Explaining the rationale behind picking Sreesanth ahead of Ishant Sharma, Dhoni went on, “Sree was bowling really well in the nets, and on this pitch, we knew reverse swing would come into play. I feel Sreesanth and Zaheer are the two best reverse swing bowlers we have. I have seen only Sreesanth taking the reverse-swinging ball away from the right-handers, the others mainly bring it in. He has an edge because he can swing it both ways.”

Dhoni admitted that a few slices of luck had gone India’s way. “It was a good toss to win,” he noted. “The wicket was the best to bat on on the first day. There was a bit of pace, it was the kind of wicket where the batsmen could effectively score. After that, as the days progressed, the wicket got slower and slower.
“We had one crucial run out of Mahela, a couple of inside-edges going on to the stumps. We were a bit lucky, and that was important too.”

India rely heavily on good starts, the skipper acknowledged. “Whenever Sehwag and Gambhir give us a good start, whether it is Tests or one-dayers, the run rate is pretty high. When they have a long partnership, it looks like there is a lot of purpose. They score at 5 or 5.5 per over, it makes it very easy after that. We got a good start in this game.

“After that, we also got wickets at regular intervals. The bowlers in particular set up the win because once Sri Lanka came on to bat on the second day, the bowlers worked hard and bowled non-stop till the game was won. Everyone fulfilled his responsibilities.”

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