Bowlers' performance most remarkable, says Dhoni

Dwelling on 5th ODI at Cuttack, India skipper MS Dhoni said the bowlers made a good come back in the match after their rather average first spells.

updated: November 27, 2008 10:17 IST
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The performance of the Indian bowlers in the one-dayers against England has earned them accolades from captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni who said the consistency of his bowlers has been "the most remarkable thing in the series".

"The most remarkable thing in the series has been our bowling, whether with the new ball or the old - at the start, middle or at death," Dhoni said after his team thumped England by six wickets for a 5-0 lead in the series.

Dwelling on 5th ODI at Cuttack, Dhoni said the bowlers made a good come back in the match after their rather average first spells.

"We didn't get the best of starts from the new ball bowlers and in the middle I think the spinners did their job.

In the second Powerplay, when the batsmen were set, I think Zaheer (Khan) and Ishant (Sharma) did a splendid job. They had restricted the England innings to 270 when they looked like getting 300," Dhoni said.

Chasing 271, India got off to a flying start before losing Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh in quick successions.

Dhoni, however, was far from worried and the India captain said even at that stage, he didn't fear losing the match.

"We knew one thing that they had three seamers and they had almost finished their quota. So they had to bowl the spinners," Dhoni said, explaining his gameplan.

"We had one Powerplay still left and the asking rate was quite down. We knew if we survive for a while, we can get our eyes in and rotate the strike," said the Indian skipper.

The consolidating job, however, was not as easy as it looked, Dhoni said.

"Light was low and it was difficult to sight the ball. It was moist and the ball losing colour. But once you are set, you could rotate the strike," he said.

Dhoni said Sehwag and Tendulkar gave India the great start and had Yuvraj been in form as well, India could have chased down even 300-plus targets.

"The kind of start that was needed was given by Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar. It was a pleasant sight to see Sehwag batting the way he does and Sachin rotating the strike and getting the odd boundaries. At the same time if Yuvraj gets going, you can expect 300-odd runs on the board," he said.

His opposite number Kevin Pietersen said 270 was not a bad score but the dew made life difficult for the English bowlers who could not defend the total.

"I thought 270 was very competitive. I can see now why Dhoni chose to bat, it was a bit of a nightmare dealing with the dew in the evening," he said.

"But they won the toss, decided to field and we had to bat," Pietersen said.

He also felt that after Yuvraj, Sehwag had taken over the role of tormenting the visiting bowlers.

"We have been outplayed again by Viru, he is such a great player and it was a great knock. It was tough for the bowlers," he said.

Man of the Match Sehwag was clearly unlucky today to fall victim to a poor leg before decision but the opener had no complain to make.

"I have been in good form and wanted to score big here. I was unlucky not to get the 100 but I'm happy (to have played my part)," said the swashbuckling opener.

A batsman who prefers to keep things simple, Sehwag said the dew made batting easy for him.

"Batting was easy because the ball was wet. It means you know the ball would not swing or seam and you can play your shots.

"I know their attack and could guess where they would bowl to me. I took my time and waited for the bad balls to punish them," Sehwag said.