It’s a great feeling: Indian skipper
Dhoni says the win was a consequence of consistent cricket over a period of time
HAMILTON: M.S. Dhoni, as is his wont, kept his head after the historic win in the first Test here at Seddon Park, terming it a milestone on the path to greater success.
“One of the first milestones we have achieved is to take the lead, now it’s important to play the same kind of cricket in the second and third game,” said Dhoni on Saturday evening.
“It’s very special. It will also be special because of a couple of players — Sachin (Tendulkar) got a big hundred and Harbhajan (Singh) got six wickets. We were talking about it last (Friday) night. He wanted to get his first five-wicket haul in New Zealand, and I am glad he got it the very next day.”
Dhoni said the win was a consequence of “consistent cricket over a period of time”, tracing its origins to the gamble at the toss. “We felt it was a very good track to bat on, so whatever would be there for the seamers would be there for the first couple of hours,” said the Indian captain.
Gamble pays off
“We took that gamble,” he continued. “If the bowlers had not taken those early six wickets, I would have felt like a fool. Our bowlers’ effort was great. I felt there was not much for the bowlers after that first session.
“After that it was grit and determination. Spell after spell they were eager to bowl, they maintained the ball well, they bowled in the right areas, and created opportunities.”
Dhoni said the best gift the side could gift the seniors was India’s first series win in New Zealand since 1967-68.
“It’s a great feeling especially for guys whose careers have spanned more than 10 years, they have played at most of the venues all over the world, and if it’s the first win for them it can’t get better. But hopefully if we can win the series it will be great.”
New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori conceded that his side had been outplayed in all three facets. “If we look back to the start, we put ourselves in a tough situation at 60 for six,” he said. “We recovered moderately from there, but in every aspect India showed us how to do it in this Test match.
“Even our fielding, which is something we normally pride ourselves on, was disappointing. Dropped catches always hurt and our ground fielding was poor as well.”
Keeping it going
Vettori said New Zealand had had trouble maintaining its standard of play over five days for some time now. “The problem is the longevity with ball and bat,” he said. “Obviously, we have to bat longer — 80 overs in both innings is just not acceptable.
“With the ball, we need to be consistent in putting the ball in the right areas. At times we built pressure up to six to ten balls and then we let it slip and bowled the boundary balls. We need to put 30-35 balls in a row to create pressure against a batting line-up of India’s quality.”