It was a bad day for us, says Dhoni

“It was a bad day for us,” the Indian captain said, minutes after his side was shot out for 88 by New Zealand’s four-pronged seam attack. “We missed a couple of chances but even if we had taken them and kept them down to 200, it would have been a difficult total to chase under the conditions. But yes, we could have applied ourselves and batted better.”

India were undone by a combination of seam and bounce. “The toss is very crucial here, as it always is in Sri Lanka under lights,” Dhoni observed. “There was a lot of assistance for the bowlers and as the match progressed, the ball was not coming on to the bat. But the bounce wasn’t quick bounce, it was spongy, tennis-ball bounce which made stroke-making difficult.”

Refusing to blame the schedule – India had just two days between the end of the Test series and the start of the tri-series – Dhoni went on, “It is quite tough, it was an intense Test series. We had just two days in the middle, but that is not a point of complaint. I am not blaming the schedule, we should have adapted better.”

The best way to recover from such a crushing defeat, he offered, was to take some time off. “Especially for those who played the Tests, a couple of days of total rest away from cricket will be good,” said Dhoni, pointing out that India’s next match was only on August 16.

Senior pro Scott Styris, who played a crucial part in the Kiwi victory with a polished 89, said his team felt it had a point to prove. “We are delighted with this win. We felt that with us missing Daniel (Vettori) and Brendon (McCullum), we were not getting the same respect from a lot of people including the media,” said the 35-year-old. “We have got talented players and a good team, and we wanted to show that to everyone.”

Styris added that well as Praveen Kumar and Ashish Nehra bowled, New Zealand had the better resources. “They had only three quicks (Mithun bowled just four overs because of a heatstroke) while we had four, and that was a huge difference,” he noted.

India’s worst defeats (in terms of runs):

* By 245 runs against Sri Lanka, chasing 300 at Sharjah on Oct 29, 2000
* By 208 runs against Australia, chasing 360 at Sydney on Feb 8, 2004
* By 202 runs against England, chasing 335 at Lord’s on Jun 7, 1975
* By 200 runs against New Zealand, chasing 289 at Dambulla on Aug 10, 2010
* By 162 runs against Australia, chasing 321 at Nottingham on Jun 13, 1983
India’s lowest scores in ODIs:
* 54 v Sri Lanka (Sharjah, 2000)
* 63 v Australia (Sydney, 1981)
* 78 v Sri Lanka (Kanpur, 1986)
* 79 v Pakistan (Sialkot, 1978)
* 88 v New Zealand (Dambulla, 2010)

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