Dhoni praises India persistence
Mahendra Singh Dhoni congratulated his India team for their application in ending England’s defiant second innings en route to a nine-wicket win in the first Test at Ahmedabad.
Having made their opponents follow on, the hosts ran into strong resistance from Alastair Cook and Matt Prior - who added 157 for the sixth wicket in a total of 406 all out.
Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha halted that stand this morning by having Prior caught and bowled for 91 and soon after bowled Cook for 176 to leave 77 required for victory.
Ojha got through more than 77 overs for his nine match wickets and spin twin Ravichandran Ashwin sent down 70 on a pitch that did not break up to the extent many had predicted.
“There was something in the wicket initially,” said Dhoni. “I think the spinners bowled really well in the first innings. But as the game progressed there was a bit of low bounce for the spinners, but not much turn, so we had to work really hard.”
“Not to forget, we asked them to follow on so our spinners bowled close to 80 and 70 overs each, and the fast bowlers bowled 40 overs.”
Cheteshwar Pujara was man of the match for his maiden Test double-century and his second-innings 41, both of which were unbeaten.
“I think it was a fantastic game for Cheteshwar Pujara to start off,” Dhoni added.
“He’s someone who has got the temperament to play big innings. He has scored a lot of double-tons on the domestic circuit and he made sure he used all his experience.
“He makes sure if he gets a fifty, he can convert it into a hundred and a double-hundred.
"I think it was fantastic batting by him, both in the first innings and the second innings.”
Dhoni concluded: “I think it was a fantastic performance by the whole team. Pujara was the main scorer of runs, but the others supported him and Ojha was supported by all the other bowlers.”
Pujara, who significantly aided India’s first-innings 521 for eight declared, said: “As a team we knew we had to put up 500-plus and to put that total I had to hang around and make sure I played my role.”
Pujara opened today’s innings with Virender Sehwag given Gautam Gambhir’s absence due to a family bereavement.
“The ball was hard and it was coming nicely on to the bat, and obviously I had a lot of confidence after scoring a double-hundred. I was quite positive and sighting the ball well,” Pujara added.
“I was out for almost a year because of injury and since I am back I am enjoying the dressing room atmosphere.”