Dhoni hails Tendulkar and bowlers after historic win

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni lavished praise on Sachin Tendulkar and his bowling unit for scripting the team's 10-wicket triumph in the first Test.

updated: March 21, 2009 17:04 IST
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India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Saturday lavished praise on Sachin Tendulkar and his bowling unit for scripting the team's thumping 10-wicket triumph in the first Test against New Zealand.

Dhoni said Tendulkar, who smashed a masterly 160 in the first innings, looked at his best.

"I think New Zealand bowlers bowled in the right areas. They didn't get wickets but it was hard to score against them. That was the time Sachin was at his best. If there was a bad ball, he made the most out of it and he made it a point that their bowlers stayed long in the field.

"It was difficult for bowlers to bowl again at their best, having already bowled 20-22 overs. That's when you cash in on, set big partnership or contribute with the tail-enders also chipping in...It was a fantastic innings from Sachin," Dhoni gushed.

The Indian skipper patted the bowlers too for their superlative performance which vindicated Dhoni's decision to insert New Zealand after winning the toss.

"We chose to field first and the bowlers proved that my decision was right. We got six early wickets and after lunch, the pitch become easy to bat on and it was not more easy getting wickets," Dhoni explained.

He singled out spinner Harbhajan Singh, who scalped six for 63 in the second innings, for special praise.

"There was not much for him in the first innings and he didn't get plenty. But he saw some assistance in the second and grabbed six wickets which really mattered," Dhoni said. The seamers also bowled intelligently on the Seddon Park, said the skipper.

"Our seamers really bowled well. They rely a lot on swing, they are not the hit-the-deck kind of bowlers, apart from Ishant (Sharma) who is tall and looks to hit the right areas. But Zaheer (Khan) relies lot on swing and it's the same with Munaf (Patel)," Dhoni said.

Man of the Match Sachin Tendulkar was elated, having played a crucial role in India's historic win and said he thoroughly enjoyed the knock.

"I enjoyed my time in the middle. Initially, it was tough but once the new ball was taken, I was more comfortable and my feet started moving better. I found the centre of the bat after a long time," said the batsman.

"It was a good track where one needed to spend some time to adjust to the wicket. But it was a fantastic track and we all enjoyed batting on it," he said.

Asked about his stomach and finger injuries, Tendulkar assured it was nothing serious.

"The stomach is fine and the finger is little sore. I think I should be okay (for the second Test)," he added. Meanwhile, New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori felt his bowlers were not consistent enough to curb India's star-studded batting line-up.

"We were not consistent enough. The Indian top order thrives on boundaries and we fed them too many. Small ground and fast outfield really made it difficult for us. We really were not good enough," he said.

Admitting that the team has a lot of work ahead, Vettori said, "We have seen teams bounce back from 1-0 loss and that would test us."