Dambulla:India ODI skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Monday accepted the blame for a thumping loss to Sri Lanka in the opener, saying he misread the wicket and chose to bat first which put paid to his team chances in the match.
"To start off we misread the wicket a bit. We thought it may not seam or swing that much. As the breeze was strong, we expected it to swing throughout the day which it did. But I think there was a fair bit in the wicket to start off," Dhoni said.
Dhoni, however, said Sri Lankan pacemen deserved all the credit for removing Indian openers cheaply and destabilising the innings.
"The Sri Lankan bowlers bowled really well. The top two batsmen they got out not due to a bad shot. They got out of their defence. The credit goes to their fast bowlers. I think they got wickets," he said.
"Later on, (Ajantha) Mendis put the pressure and the only thing we were doing was to catch up and it really gets tough in the one-dayers if you lose too many wickets upfront," he added.
Asked why could not Indian spinners repeat the performance of Mendis and Muttiah Muralitharan, Dhoni said the Sri Lankan duo were a different lot.
"If you see Muralitharan and Mendis they are different bowlers. Murali is fast. He can turn on any sort of wicket. He loves Sri Lankan wicket. Even when he bowls fast he gets some purchase out of the wicket.
"If it was any other spinner apart from Murali and Mendis, they won't have got so much turn you can say. There was a bit you can say but if you are in a good position then you can exploit that," he said.
Dhoni said Mendis was an unusual spinner and it is difficult to pick him up.
"He is a very different bowler and even if you pick him up by the time you realise what bowl it is, it gets late to play a big shot.
"Now-a-days you will see batsmen who can play him but in one-day cricket it is not only about playing him. You also have to rotate the strike because you do not want a bowler to end up bowling 10 overs and may be 20 runs," he said.
"We need to find a way in which we can rotate singles if not play the big shot. Take singles, take few from him (Mendis) few from Murali and look to attack others.
"You got to have something on the board. You cannot really score 180 or 200 runs and look to defend that... So you have to get a decent score for which we have to score from each and every bowler," he added.
Dhoni said it was important to get good starts which was not being possible with Mendis' presence in Sri Lankan line-up.
"It is important to get a good start because the two games that we have played against Sri Lanka when Mendis was playing we were never off to a good start.
"We were off to a good start in Asia cup but we lost quick wickets and after that when you are playing Mendis. You have to save wickets and you have to get the runs as well. So it gets a bit tough when you have to rotate the strike. You have to save wickets if the bowler is as unusual as Mendis."
"Even when Murali was here some years back 7 or 8 years back. It was really difficult and everybody was talking about Murali. But with time, I think it will get a bit easy. But I think Mendis is a bit more unusual than Muralitharan," Dhoni said.
Dhoni said he would change the team composition and combination for the next match.
"We may look at a different composition and a different combination for the next game. It is at a very initial stage. We have just gone through this game. We will have a look and whatever fits the team the best we will decide on that," he said.
Dhoni praised Munaf Patel for doing a decent job with the ball as well as bat.
"I think against Sri Lanka seam bowlers have been successful. In Australia, also Munaf was successful. He was up to the mark. He was bowling at decent pace and in the right areas. He is putting more efforts in fielding and his throwing has improved. He also batted well in this game."