Guwahati:Dejection writ large on his face after losing the ODI series to Australia, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said his team lost Sunday's do-or-die match in the first 15 minutes itself.
Dhoni's gamble to bat first on a tricky track boomeranged and the match virtually slipped out of their hand by nine overs when the home side was gasping at 27 for five.
"During the toss I said that the first half hour will be crucial for us but the first 15 minutes proved more than enough," Dhoni said after the match.
"We lost quite a few wickets after that we never really were in the game," he explained.
With today's win, Australia took an unassailable 4-2 lead in the series.
For Australia, pace duo of Doug Bollinger (5/35) and Mitchell Johnson 3/39) made merry on a wicket which offered generous movement even though Dhoni defended his decision to bat first and felt a score in the vicinity of 220 could have been enough.
"Of course there was a bit of movement in the wicket but overall I think the Australians bowled really well.
"We could have batted second looking at the conditions but then also it would have been tough because the spinners were getting great amount of turn. I think we were fortunate enough to score 170 as at one stage, 150 was looking tough. We fell short by 50-55 runs," Dhoni said.
The Indian captain said losing a couple of close games made all the difference in the series.
"The Mohali game followed by the Hyderabad game, we should have won both. In both the matches the Australians took the game away from us. A couple of mistakes we made in the field and we lost the games," he added.
His counterpart Ricky Ponting, meanwhile, lauded his team for their spirited display, especially after losing some of their key players to injuries and said it was a memorable series win for him.
"I couldn't be happier. (This is) probably one of the best series I have been involved with. It was heartening to see the boys gel as a group especially after so many injuries.
The performance of the team in the last two games have been satisfying," an ecstatic Ponting said.
"It means a lot because it was a great challenge to come and beat India at their home, especially when you have not got your main players. In every match we had to change and chop players and that made it even harder.
"Performance of all the guys have been outstanding. The bowlers really bowled well today, Johnson and Bollinger were outstanding. Once we got the five wickets, we thought we have taken the control of the game," Ponting said.
"It swung a little bit in the morning and was also two paced early on. But our new ball bowlers really did a great job for us," he added.
Man-of-the-match Bollinger said he just stuck to his basics and it paid him rich dividends.
"I am really happy today and it's great to see everything coming together. I really had a great time here. I just wanted to use the conditions as much as I can and it worked," he said.