India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has no qualms in admitting that the reason for their defeat in the nerve-wrecking fifth ODI was lack of mental toughness in the lower-order batsmen.

Chasing an imposing 351 for win, India came close but fell short by just three runs as they folded for 347 after Sachin Tendulkar’s sublime 175 off 141 balls.

After Tendulkar’s departure in the first ball of the 48th over, India required 19 runs from 17 balls but the remaining three batsmen succumbed to pressure and could manage only 15.

Dhoni said India matched the World Champion side as far as cricketing skills are concerned but the want of mental toughness in crunch moments did them in.

“We lost the mental aspect and not the cricketing part of the match. Chasing 350 was always going to be difficult even on this wicket which played very well,” Dhoni said after India conceded a 2-3 lead in the seven-match series.

Dhoni also said had it not been for Tendulkar’s amazing and strokeful knock, the hosts would have never come so close to victory.

“Three or four of our top batsmen did not score but still we came close to the target. Sachin Tendulkar played very well and he was one man who brought us close to a win. But even after he left we did not lose hopes till the end,” said Dhoni about Tendulkar’s fabulous knock which was studded with 19 fours and four sixes.

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