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BCCI Staff in Mumbai 09 February 2014 - 01:40pm IST

Dhoni doffs his hat to bowlers

Indian skipper praises his bowlers’ performance as ‘one of the best I’ve seen’

India fell short by 40 runs in the Auckland Test but the defeat was not for the lack of fight. After having conceded a 300-plus run lead in the first innings, the visitors bounced back in the game, thanks to an inspired performance by the pace attack, who dismissed New Zealand for 105 in the second essay. Skipper, MS Dhoni was pleased with his bowlers’ effort despite the loss.

“The bowlers bowled fantastically well to get us back. This was among the best that I have seen our bowlers bowl, especially on a good wicket,” Dhoni said. “They kept it tight and bowled wicket—taking deliveries at the same time. They need to continue doing that. When you go and not look at what you want to achieve at the end, you can slowly graduate into bigger goals.”

India were dismissed for 366 in their second, chasing 407. Dhoni blamed the batting performance in the first innings (India were all-out for 202) for letting the game slip.

“I don’t think we batted really well in the first innings,” he said. In the second innings, quiet a few of our batmen batted really well. We had few unlucky wickets. Ajinkya’s decision was a tough one at a very crucial time.”

While Dhoni was left to rue the one that got away, his Kiwi counterpart was an extremely satisfied man. Brendon McCullum led from the front with a sparkling double century in the first innings to script his team’s victory.

“One of my best innings in an New Zealand shirt,” McCullum beamed. “ I am delighted to make a significant contribution. A lot of credit must go to those who formed partnerships with me. A Test victory over this Indian team is no small achievement.”

He was glad that in the end, his bowlers kept their nerves as India threatened to sneak in with a win. “Definitely, there were nervous times. They put us under immense amount of pressure. Neil Wagner’s spell epitomised everything that is going well with the side. It was a great Test to be part of. One that we will remember. We had to overcome tough periods when batting,” said McCullum, who was awarded the Man of the Match for his brilliant 224 in the first innings.