Dhoni strives for improvements
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni paid tribute to his beleaguered bowlers but admitted their batting needs to improve following their crushing 319-run loss in the second npower Test at Trent Bridge.
Although India's bowling attack reduced Andrew Strauss' men to 124 for eight on day one, lower order resistance helped the hosts reach 221 before India collapsed from 267 for four to 288 all out.
Sreesanth, Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar toiled for large spells as England reached 544 all out and they were hindered when Harbhajan Singh could not bowl his usual quota of overs due to a stomach muscle injury.
India were bowled out for 158 in their second innings after being set an unlikely 478 for victory and world’s number one Test side have now failed to get past 300 in the last two matches of the four-match series.
Dhoni acknowledged luck was against his side and said: “There were quite a few things that were bothering us. Missing one of your key fast bowlers, when you play with four bowlers, it becomes a bit difficult to manoeuvre things.
“But still, I think the bowlers took up the responsibility, they had to bowl a lot of overs and they still got us breakthroughs at the valuable times.
“The other important thing is it’s important to score runs and put them on the board, we are slightly lacking that right from the last series that we played.
“We have not really scored consistently so that’s also a bit of a concern.
“I’m quite happy with the performances of the bowlers, the way they have performed and they way they took responsibility in the last two Test matches, it will be good to see a slight improvement in the batting performances.”
The tourists’ campaign has been beset by injuries, with Virender Sehwag ruled out prior to the series commencing, whilst Zaheer Khan and Gautam Gambhir suffered hamstring and elbow problems in the first Test at Lord’s.
Dhoni expects to welcome back Gambhir for the third Test at Edgbaston and although Sehwag is expected to fly to England tomorrow, the skipper did not know whether the opener or Zaheer will be available.
“You have two openers and then all of a sudden, you miss one opener, then Rahul (Dravid), who has batted really well at number three has to open the innings and (VVS) Laxman has to bat at number three so there’s undue pressure on you,” added Dhoni.
Seamers Stuart Broad and Tim Bresnan showed their all-round capabilities with the former coming to England’s rescue in the first innings with a knock of 64 to lift England from 124 for eight to 221 all out and Dhoni admitted that the lower order runs were crucial.
“If you see their batting order, they bat quite deep. Maybe Anderson is the only one who doesn’t bat to some extent but I think they really bat deep and in the first innings they were eight down for 120-odd runs and still they were able to score hundred more runs,” said the wicketkeeper-batsman.
“The bowlers tried whatever they could - tried to pitch it up, bowl short deliveries, tried not to let the opposition score big shots but we were not really successful. I think those 100 runs really mattered.”