Chennai:India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Friday admitted that the two crucial dismissals in the last over before tea by Graeme Swann put the hosts on the back foot but asserted his side was very much in the game against England.
India were 155 for six at the end of the second day and Dhoni said the home team would be looking to add at least another 50 runs in their first innings with four wickets still intact.
"We had a bad day in office. England bowled really well in the right areas. Just before tea we lost two wickets that was very crucial. (Graeme) Swann bowled well. If you see the wickets that he had taken they were of perfect balls. The ball that he bowled to Rahul (Dravid) was a really good ball," Dhoni said after the match.
"Credit goes to England, they bowled well with the new ball. They have the upper hand right now but we will look to score 50 runs to start off with the lower order. It will be tough but I think if we can reach 200-250 it will be good. In the past we have seen opponents getting 100 odd runs lead and still losing the game," he added.
"Tomorrow is important? how long we stay at the crease and how much we score accordingly we can say the target. The pitch has started to assist the spinners. But it is still not alarming. The odd ball is bouncing. We have seen worst wickets than this."
Dhoni also admitted that his boys did not have much match practice before the Test series but made it clear that he was not looking for any excuses.
"Yes we didn't get enough time. Before the Australian series we had a 15-day camp. But it all happens, we are not here to blame anything," he said.
On Dravid getting out cheaply again after a woeful Test series against Australia, Dhoni defended his former skipper and insisted a player of Dravid's class will find his grooves sooner than later.
"It (lean patch) happens. When you have a long career there will be patches when you won't be doing well. There will be patches in the peak of your form when you always get big scores. It happens with great players. We are not really worried about it.
"Rahul is very talented and determined guy. His determination and commitment to cricket is excellent. He is working really hard and hopefully he will get runs."
Dhoni refused to be dragged on to Sports Minister MS Gill's remarks that India should not tour Pakistan in January next year in the wake of Mumbai terror attacks.
"I don't want to say anything on it. It's upto the government. The word has been sent across to the Board. Whether to go or not to go we still have time for that. We are now preoccupied with the England series," he said.
The home team captain also rubbished claims of an on-field confrontation between his deputy Yuvraj Singh and Andrew Flintoff today.
"I know Yuvraj very well. These are the things he really likes. He always likes to go around and chit-chat. This is what happened between them in the Twenty20 matches also. I don't think it was because of the chit chat between them that Yuvraj got out. There was a bad shot selection.
"It's fair enough such things go on in the field to make it more interesting. The crowd was also quite down and that was the time he started speaking. It adds to the excitement of the game," Dhoni said.
Asked how the Indian batsmen, known for their ability to play spin failed to get their acts together today, Dhoni said, "We are not complacent. In international cricket you are bound to face good bowlers and good spells. It happens, you lose wickets at times." "On this wicket it is difficult to score runs when the ball becomes old unless the bowlers bowl badly. Outfield is also a bit slower. If you are playing shots you are bound to get out at times. We are not bothered too much about that.
"We had one off day in the field. We are doing well in Test cricket. You will be outplayed in international cricket sometimes. It was a case in which England team bowled really well. If you want to do well in the series, we got to be in the right frame of mind. Bad days shouldn't bog you down." Dhoni defended his decision not to take the new ball in the morning as the ball was reverse-swinging.
"The ball was reverse swinging. In Test matches when you take the new ball runs are bound to flow. The fast bowlers were also tired, we have been bowling for the last 90 overs. Maybe in England or Australia you would have taken the new ball. But here you want the ball to reverse swing. Taking the new ball would not have helped," he said.
He also tried to debunk the theory that the team seemed to be in trouble when Virender Sehwag doesn't get going.
"No, not really like that. In Test cricket, opening partnership is important whether it is Sehwag or anybody else. He goes out and looks to dominate. There will be odd games when he may not get runs. That is his game plan and his strength. That's how he has scored tons of runs. At times it doesn't pay off."