India’s first dig was as good a batting performance as seen on the tour, says Clarke

High stakes and an effort to shut out an Australian comeback in the series led to tense moments towards the end before India won the third Test at the PCA Stadium here.

India captain M.S. Dhoni had this take on the last day of the match: “Yes it got close. If you see, I don’t gamble but the stakes were high, in the sense we had everything to lose and literally we had nothing to gain.

“Yes, what we were gaining was satisfaction that we are winning one more Test match. But the Aussies, if they had won it, would have got a chance to comeback into the series.

“Also, the fact that we were one batsman less — Shikhar (Dhawan) was injured and it was very unlikely he would have come in to bat.”

“And, the fact that from 7 to11, we have not exactly scored a lot of runs. All these things play in the back of your head. It was important that batsmen who are set take you through last 3-4 overs. Even if we need six runs an over for 3-4 overs, you can try to explode and lose a few wickets; it doesn’t really matter, but that was not the case. We lost Vijay when there was a sound partnership and kept losing wickets at regular intervals. So it got close with one batsman less.

“The lower order is not really performing well. We were under a bit of pressure.”

Praise for Dhawan

Dhoni also revealed that Dhawan is likely to miss the next Test.

“He (Dhawan) batted really well,” said Dhoni. “What was important for him was to play his natural game. At times what we have seen is youngsters who play for India try to change their game too soon. I think it’s important to play your natural game. He backed himself to play a few shots.”

Dhoni had words of praise for Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

“He is not too quick but can move the ball. So it’s important that we use him with the new ball more when the ball is skidding,” Dhoni said. “Bhuvneshwar is someone who swings it, doesn’t matter what the conditions are, he gets the swing. I think it’s very important that we use him more with the new ball, especially in the subcontinental conditions.

“He has got the talent. Slowly you will see him prove himself over a period of time.”

What about Harbhajan Singh?

“The reason we brought ‘Bhajji’ in was because they had a lot of left-handers in the side. With (Matthew) Wade going and (Brad) Haddin coming in, it gave us the opportunity to bring back Pragyan (Ojha). But whether we retain the XI in Delhi or if Bhajji comes in, we have to see. We will have to provide Pragyan also the same amount of chances in the Test matches.”

‘Indians batted well’

Michael Clarke gave credit to the Indian batsmen.

“I’m disappointed we did not win, but lot of credit to India for the way they batted in the first innings. The opening partnership was outstanding, and as good a batting performance as we have seen on the tour. The Indian batsmen made the most of the conditions,” he said.

In his opinion, the difference between the teams was the ability to get big scores.

“They’re scoring a lot of hundreds whereas we’re scoring a lot of fifties. We need to continue to stay patient after getting to fifties and be disciplined,” Clarke said.

On his team, Clarke noted: “We’re a very good and consistent team at home, but not when we tour. That’s an area which we’ve been talking about for a while now, and we’ll continue to work hard on that.

“But, as disappointing as it is to have lost the series, the players — individually and as a team — have learnt a lot. We’d love to go home with a win in the last Test in Delhi.”

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