“I will still like to have a typical sub-continental wicket that turns from the first day. So, the importance of toss is reduced, and whichever team plays better cricket wins the game. You want to face challenges in Test cricket and these are the sort of tracks that push you to that. All wickets should be like this,” Dhoni said after the visitors levelled the series with a 10-wicket victory.
India were favourites to win the Mumbai Test, especially after getting all they wanted, but they were outplayed by England in all departments. A day before the Test match, in fact, Dhoni had ruled out the idea of having three spinners, but changed his mind at the last minute after having a quick look at the pitch. India went ahead with R. Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha and the experienced Harbhajan Singh. The trio took two wickets fewer than England’s Monty Panesar in the entire match.
Monty, who looked more ‘Turbanator’ than the original, ended up with figures of 11-210, only the second instance of an English spinner taking 10 wickets or more in a match in India after Hedley Verity 78 years ago. Panesar and Graeme Swann (8-113), between them, nearly accounted for the Indian side twice.
Dhoni, disappointed with his spinners, admitted Panesar was the difference between the two teams. “He (Monty) was different from the rest. All other bowlers were getting a bit of turn and bounce, but Monty was someone who was bowling at real pace, close to 90-95 kmph, and he was able to get some turn. If you compare him with the rest, they also got wickets but they never looked like bothering the batsmen as much as Monty did. So credit goes to him,” Dhoni said.
The Indian captain also agreed that the batsmen failed to perform. Apart from Cheteshwar Pujara and R Ashwin in the first innings and Gautam Gambhir in the second, the Indian batters failed to negotiate spin in their won backyard. For England, Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen scored magnificent centuries.
“You feel a bit disappointed. If you see both the scorecards, they are quite the same. One or two big innings, the rest is a phone number, 98351 something like that. It will be tough if you play on wickets like these, but that’s what Test cricket is all about,” he added.