Punish Mendis to bring him under pressure: Dhoni

Indians must get on the top of their Sri Lankan nemesis Ajantha Mendis by punishing him for his bad deliveries to bring him under pressure, says MS Dhoni.

updated: August 28, 2008 06:45 IST
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Indians must get on the top of their Sri Lankan nemesis Ajantha Mendis by punishing him for his bad deliveries to bring him under pressure, says Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

"It is more about him (Mendis). If he bowls a bad ball then punish him and build up pressure on him. If you continue to defend him then you know he will also be on top," Dhoni said.

"It is very important that whenever he bowled a bad bowl we will get runs out of them so that you know he (Mendis) gets under a bit of pressure," Dhoni said after winning the match by 33 runs to take 2-1 lead in the five-match series.

"I think S Badri(nath)'s effort was great. He took on Mendis. He went for a big shot but that is what you need to do at times to put some pressure on the bowler. Till now he (Mendis) was never under any sort of pressure. So he was bowling at his best," he added.

His match-winning 76-run knock notwithstanding, Dhoni said India won the third one-dayer here because of a team effort with no body having a bad day and would prefer it this way in the coming matches as well.

"It is better to have a contributory effort while winning a match but we are not relying on one individual," he said.

"If you will have the privilege of getting individual performances like Zaheer played well in the last match. In this match also he has bowled well. But it is always better to win in the sense when it is a team effort and every one enjoys. No body had a bad day. It is good overall if we can continue to do this way," he added.

But Dhoni admitted India should have scored more runs especially with seven batsmen.

"When you are playing with a extra batsman, you need to score over 250 runs to put pressure on the opposition team. Especially in these conditions, when the wickets are slow, your part timers will have an effect. Still we do not have partners like Virender Sehwag or Sachin Tendulkar who can turn the bowl and are quite consistent with their bowling.

"So we have to see which bowler is bowling well on a particular day and use him. Hopefully we will not have a day when all (our part time bowlers) of them bowl badly and then there is pressure on the skipper," he said.

"On these sort of wickets, we need to click, especially the top order batsmen one out of the three or four (batmen) has to carry the innings and others can rotate around him. Then only we can achieve big scores in games like this.

Asked if India should have scored 260-270 after seeing the way Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Tushara batted, Dhoni said "Well that was the thought. But nothing could be done about it when we could score only 237 runs.

"There was a bit of worry (for us) in the middle because we had to use the 5th bowler which was a part time bowler. (But) Yuvraj (Singh) bowled well. He was turning the ball and that really worked for us.

"Of course as we saw in this game that if you have a partnership going and then it becomes very difficult to contain the batsmen. The outfields are fast.

"The ball comes on. Even if turns later you can go after the fast bowlers and the spinners. So it is very important to have partnership in the middle and save wickets for the death over".

On having a fifth specialist bowler, Dhoni said "I personally feel that to have a 5th specialist bowler is a luxury."

"You can manage with four bowlers provided you have part timers. We have seen that part time bowlers like Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma can bowl. Raina and Virat Kohli can also bowl. It is always better to play with five bowlers.

But seeing the conditions and the way we are batting right now it really gets tough to sacrifice that batsman to get some luxury," he said.

On the personal front, Dhoni said he was satisfied with his strike rate of 90 while the mark of 100 remains a dream.

"I am giving myself a chance. I had a different role when I made my debut. I was batting at a different slot, I had a different role. We had a person who would carry on an innings and be there till the end. I was among those batsmen who will go out and look to accelerate. Even if I get out, it was okay.

"There was transformation from that. I am playing for the last four years. The later half of my career, I was under a bit of pressure to take up the responsibility and play through the innings. That is what I am doing.

"It is good to have a strike rate of over 90. Of course 100 plus (strike rate) is a dream. It is good to have a strike rate of 90.

Asked if lights were causing problems for the Indian fielders, Dhoni said it was tough spotting the ball in a colourful crowd background.

"The crowd is very colorful here. So it becomes difficult to spot the bowl. Till the bowl is new you still see it but once it gets mingled up with dirt and all that it becomes very difficult to spot the ball. And at times we see the fielders not really reacting or we see a late reaction. It is tough."

"But you cannot really do anything about it. Your concentration level has to be up all the time. It is very draining but that is what international cricket is all about.

On the remaining ODIs, the Indian skipper said "There are two games remaining. We will take one game at a time. We will play to win. We will try to give our 100 per cent. Then we will accept the result. Then we will try to rectify our mistakes and shortcoming."