Dhoni reserves praise for batsmen

26 February 2013 12:49

The Indians posted a mammoth total of 572 in the first innings – largely set up by Dhoni's majestic 224 – en route to a comfortable eight-wicket win in Chennai.

The hosts were hardly flying at 12-2 but the efforts of Dhoni, Virat Kohli (107), Sachin Tendulkar (81) and Cheteshwar Pujara (44) triggered the convincing first-innings total.

"I think a lot of credit goes to batsmen number three (Pujara), four (Tendulkar) and five (Kohli) because they played long innings'," Dhoni said.

"OK, Sachin Tendulkar did not get a 100 or Pujara did not get a big 50, but still they played for a considerable period of time.

"The humidity over here ... Chennai gets quite humid so it helps in getting the opposition bowlers tired. We were able to bat for more than four sessions. Overall it was a very good effort both by bowlers and batsmen."

Spinner Ravichandran Ashwin – who claimed match figures of 12-198 – also starred for the victors.

He claimed the first six wickets of Australia's first innings and added the scalps of openers Ed Cowan (32), Shane Watson (17) and captain Michael Clarke (31) in the second, in which the tourists made just 241.

"I'm very happy with his bowling. I'm glad that in this Test, he bowled a very good length," Dhoni said of Ashwin.

The Indian captain – who blasted his runs in the first innings off 265 balls, including 24 runs and six sixes – added that early aggression against Australian spinner Nathan Lyon was crucial in changing fields and hurting the tourists' mindset.

Given the pitch on offer in Chennai, Australia surprised their opponents by only choosing one specialist spinner in Lyon.

Tasmanian left-armer Xavier Doherty will come into contention for the second Test but Clarke refused to confirm he would play after the match.

"Australian spin took three wickets in the first innings, fast bowling took a lot more," Clarke said.

"That doesn't mean to say that playing three fast bowlers and a medium-pace all-rounder, we got that right. We need to assess, we need to look at conditions again and work out what we think is the best 11.

"It's not just about selection, it's about how you perform, I don't think we bowled well enough in our first innings and we certainly didn't bat well enough in our second innings.

"You can talk about selection as much as you like but the 11 players you select have got to perform better than we did in this Test.

"Look at the amount of wickets fast bowling got compared to spin for the Australian team. We are not India. We are a different team, we have different fast bowlers to the Indian fast bowlers and we have different spinners to the Indian spinners."

In stark contrast to Ashwin's match figures, Lyon finished with 4-244, but Clarke said the off-spinner could take positives out of his performance.

"He's got to stay positive. He bowled plenty of overs so he has seen the conditions a lot more. He got a couple of really big wickets for us," he said.

"Like all of our attack, I thought he bowled really well in patches. We've just got to keep working on that consistency. There are plenty of positives out that for Lyno (Lyon). It's nice to see him get a wicket in the second dig as well."

Clarke added that the performance of debutant Moises Henriques – who scored 68 and 81 not out during the Test – was 'exciting for Australian cricket'.

The second Test begins in Hyderabad on Saturday.

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