Hyderabad:India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Thursday said had it not been for milestone man Sachin Tendulkar's breathtaking 175 run knock, the hosts would have never come so close of a sensational victory against Australia in the fifth one-dayer here today.
Dhoni took the positives from the heart-breaking three-run loss and said without Tendulkar's heroic 141-ball innings, it would not have been possible to come so close to the mammoth 351 run target set by Australia.
"Three or four of our top batsmen did not score but still we came close to the target. Sachin Tendulkar played very well and he was one man who brought us close to a win. But even after he left we did not lose hopes till the end," said Dhoni about Tendulkar's fabulous knock which was studded with 19 fours and four sixes.
Dhoni said though this was a special innings from the champion batsman, his personal favourite was the Desert Storm in Sharjah against Australia in April 1998.
"It was a pleasure to see him batting so well. All his centuries have been special and this too. But I am still a big fan of his desert storm (innings)," he said.
Dhoni was also of the view that India lost the mental aspect of the game and not the cricketing part.
"We lost the mental aspect and not the cricketing part of the match. Chasing 350 was always going to be difficult even on this wicket which played very well," he said after India lost a heart-stopper to Australia to give the visitors a 2-3 lead in the seven-match series.
Dhoni felt that though the conditions were ideal for batting, his bowlers gave away 20-30 runs extra on the placid Rajiv Gandhi International stadium wicket.
"We always knew the wicket was going to play good but the pressure of chasing 350 was high. It would have been easier had our bowlers done something extra to restrict the score to 325 or 330. I am not saying they should have stopped them at 270," said the wicketkeeper batsman, who had a poor outing with both the bat and behind the wicket.
The India skipper refused to believe that his side would be under extra pressure in the next game at Guwahati on Sunday.
"Every game is a pressure game. There will always be pressure," he said.
Dhoni also lavished praise on the Australian batsmen for their superb show but said the three dropped chances cost his team dear.
"We dropped three catches which proved to be costly," he said about the chances given to Shaun Marsh (twice) and Shane Watson (once).
Marsh was dropped on 29 and 51 while Watsom was let off on 90. Marsh made 112, his debut ODI hundred and Watson went on to score 93 and also took three wickets.