Need to get lower order out sooner: MSD
Melbourne, Dec 29: India lost the first match of the four-Test Border-Gavaskar series at the Melbourne cricket ground by 122 runs. Chasing 292 runs on Day 4, the tourists were bowled out for just 169 to complete another Boxing Day Test failure. However, the bowling department, considered to be a sore spot for India, gave a good account of themselves with youngster Umesh Yadav clearing up the top order in both innings.
Skipper MS Dhoni reflected on the match in the post-match presentation/TV interview.
On there being many chances for the Indian team to swing the match in their favour
We didn’t get off to a very good start but the bowlers brought us back into the game in the first innings. After that we had a bit of a partnership going in the first innings but we were not really able to capitalise on that; that is the main reason why we were 50-odd runs short. In the second innings, again, we got off to a very good start when it came to bowling, but [Michael] Hussey batted really well along with [Ricky] Ponting. In both the innings their lower order scored a bit of runs; that really made the difference. If we had got them out maybe [we] would have been chasing close to 60-70 odd runs less.
On whether the Indian batting was a concern
Not really, [looking at] the kind of experience that they have got. You also need to give credit to the Australian bowling attack because they bowled really well. We are known to be tentative starters. More often than not we have not started well in a Test series so I think in the next game we will be better. They bowled really well, close to the off-stump, a nagging line [that was] doing a bit, and that’s one of the main reasons why they got us out.
On what went wrong for the Indians
The batting department, because overall if you see the bowling, in the first and second innings, we bowled well. [In the] first innings we bowled a bit short [and] the Aussie batsmen were able to capitalise [on it] but overall I think it was the batting lineup [that fell short]. There was a bit of a spongy bounce in the wicket which made strokeplay a bit difficult. But at the same time, with the kind of experience we have in our batting lineup, we should have scored more runs.
On whether the partnership between Ben Hilfenhaus and James Pattinson made a big difference
I think it did. It’s not like the bowlers didn’t try whatever they could. They bowled in the right areas, they pushed [the batsmen] to drive [and] they bowled bouncers also at times. It’s a difficult one because the Kookaburra ball stops doing anything close to the 70th over […]. We definitely need to find a way to get the lower order out because if they keep adding those extra 30 to 40-odd runs, it can really make the difference. […]
On whether the sight of batsman chasing the ball outside the off-stump brought back memories of the dismal England series
Not really. We need to give credit to the Australian bowlers because they bowled a very nagging line. They kept it very close to the off-stump and it was going either way which meant it was coming in and leaving the batsmen at the same time. It’s always a difficult one [to judge]. You can’t really leave it just on the bounce or length. They bowled slightly up to the batsmen which meant they were supposed to play the delivery. [There are] plenty of things to learn [from] this game. We will apply ourselves a bit more and come [back] strongly in the next game.
On the net sessions prior to the game
You have to leave the deliveries on the bounce but it’s not something that we were practicing over and over again. We wanted to make the most of the 12 to 15 days that we had in our hands. It was just general practice that we did. We were looking good but you need to apply yourself in a particular game.
On India’s bowling being a big positive in the match, especially that of Umesh Yadav
All the three bowlers did a very good job. In the first innings we leaked a bit of runs, we bowled a fraction short [than] what was needed but after that the bowling department on the whole did a very good job. Ishant [Sharma] did a very good job of containing [the batsmen] which gave an opportunity to Zak [Zaheer Khan] and Umesh to attack a bit more.
On all not being lost yet
It’s a long series; we have four Test matches. [It] gives you a lot of room to come back into the series. We will definitely take the positives out of this first game [and] work on the things that went wrong and come back strongly in the next Test match.