I always rate Dhoni high as a captain: Kirsten

Suggesting that Pietersen erred by opting to bat first in the 3rd ODI in fading light, India coach Kirsten said they were prepared for such a possibility.

updated: November 20, 2008 16:15 IST
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Suggesting that England captain Kevin Pietersen erred by opting to bat first in the third ODI which finished in fading light, India coach Gary Kirsten said the hosts were prepared for such a possibility and had prepared accordingly.

Chasing 241 in 49 overs, India were 198 for five when bad light dropped early curtains on the proceedings and the hosts were declared winner via Duckworth-Lewis method. "We were going to bat second any way. That (Pietersen's decision to bat first) worked in our favour," Kirsten said in the post-match press conference.

The India coach said they had taken stock of the conditions here and were ready for such an eventuality. "We obviously were aware, looking at the weather yesterday that light might come into play. We prepared accordingly," he said.

Kirsten admitted India could not produce the same ruthlessness which helped them crush the visitors in the previous two games but felt the team showed enough resilience.

"It was an all-round performance. Probably we didn't fire in all departments of the game but we know we can," he said. "We had times in the game when we let it go a bit. We lost a few wickets up front and put ourselves under bit of pressure. But we believe we got a team and guys can play in any situation of the game and we backed ourselves to win the game," he explained.

According to him, England felt 20-run short in the game. "I think 240 was a reasonably good score on this track, but probably a tough below par. I think 260 would have made it a real game," he said.

England bowlers came up with a vastly improved show today with Andrew Flintoff clearly the pick of the bowlers, claiming three for 31.

Flintoff was breathing fire today and was often seen glaring at the Indian batsmen besides mumbling something. Kirsten, however, didn't find anything wrong in it and doffed his hat at the England all-rounder.

"I think he was superb today and bowled very aggressively. He was the pick of their bowlers and we all know what he is capable of and he is a fine cricketer," Kirsten said.

The India coach was also effusive in his praise for Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who batted sensibly and saw that India remain ahead in the Duckworth-Lewis chart.

"I always rate him high as a captain, not only here but in any situation. I also rate him high as a captain, who can bat in any situation, Here he knew exactly what was needed and played accordingly," Kirsten said.

Asked how India would now be approaching the seven-match series which they lead 3-0, Kirsten said he was not thinking too far.

"We have got no long-term plan. We just know what to do when we get up tomorrow and prepare for the next game. Now we head off to Bangalore and we will make sure we prepare to execute our skills as good as possible in the match there," he said.