Gautam was brilliant: Dhoni
Colombo, July 28: The Indian batting line-up has been blowing rather hot and cold in the series. An authoritative performance in the first ODI was followed by a stunning collapse in the second. The batsmen came to the fore once again; chasing down 286 in the third match to take a 2-1 lead in the five-match series.
Speaking after the match, skipper MS Dhoni praised Gautam Gambhir and Suresh Raina for their match-winning knocks and explained his decision to promote himself at No.4 in the crucial game.
Did you expect to end up on the winning side after the back-to-back wickets of yourself and Rohit Sharma?
We did have a chance. Gautam was still batting and we had firm belief in Raina. There were Irfan and Ashwin to follow. We wanted to have a good platform by the start of the 36th over and I think the first two deliveries really took the game away from us. We wanted to make the most of the powerplay. But those two wickets did change the game. Raina batted really well. To start off Gautam was brilliant coming up with a performance like that. We really needed one of our top three to stand up and perform and Gautam did that very well.
What was the reasoning behind you walking in to bat at No.4?
In the last game the middle order didn’t do well and if we wanted to get a good platform we had to have a good partnership in the middle-order. Gautam was batting well and I wanted to build a partnership with him and have wickets in hand in the end. With the kind of explosive hitters we have down the order, it becomes easy for us in the end.
Was it also to take pressure off the likes of Raina and Rohit?
To a certain extent, it does take the pressure off them. Not to forget, this is the start of the season and there’s pressure on all the guys because we are expected to win and we have to keep doing well. In a way it helps when you know what exactly needs to be done and when bowlers are under pressure too, it makes their job slightly easy.
Are you worried about the inconsistency in the batting?
Last game was an off game for us and what’s very important was to get rid of the memories of that game while learning from the mistakes made in it. Today we were quite good in our approach. We need to improve our death bowling and a bit of fielding but overall I’m happy with our performance. It was a hard-earned victory and we intend to do better in the coming games.
Given the struggle in death bowling, is there a dilemma on how to use Zaheer Khan?
It depends on what exactly you’re feeling at that time. He has to bowl in the first five overs because we don’t want the opposition to get off to a flying start. He also needs to bowl in the first and second powerplay and with only 10 overs available it becomes a bit difficult. Yes, in this game we tried to use him up-front. The other bowlers were slightly off-target but it’s important that they also learn the trick because Zaheer won’t always be there to save us.