Cricket: Dhoni blames pitch for poor show

India captain hopes batsmen will assess situation better in 3rd ODI.

News Desk July 25, 2012

India captain MS Dhoni blamed the pitch for his side’s thrashing at the hands of Sri Lanka in the second One-Day International (ODI), which was the side’s second worst defeat in terms of balls remaining, according to ESPNcricinfo.

After managing three 300-plus totals in four matches prior to the series and 314 in the first ODI, Dhoni’s men found no answer to Thisara Perera as they were bowled out for 138 inside 34 overs — their fourth-lowest ODI total in the last five years.

In reply, Sri Lanka faced no trouble in chasing down the total and completed the job in the 20th over.

Dhoni said that his batsmen’s inability to read the pitch sooner cost them the game. “The pitch was next to the one we played on last time but it behaved in a completely different way,” said Dhoni. “Initially the pitch was slightly on the slower side. Once Virat [Kohli] got out we lost a couple of more wickets very quickly. Before the batsmen could assess the pitch, we lost two wickets played on. I thought after that it was too much for batsmen like Irfan [Pathan] to come in and take us out of trouble.”

Mahela Jayawardene, though, did not think the pitch was entirely to blame for India’s submission. “i don’t think the pitch was that bad,” said Jayawardene. “Probably a touch slower, there were quite a few good balls as well. We bowled in good areas, created pressure, maybe couple of bad shots as well but I will take that any day. The important thing with the Indian batting line-up is picking up wickets and that’s the only way we can control things and that is what we did today.”

Meanwhile, Dhoni said the India batsmen were not reckless, terming their dismissals unfortunate. “I don’t think they were shots that were really rash. People were looking for singles. It is part and parcel of the game and a big learning curve. Hope the batsmen learn and they assess the pitch very quickly [in the next game].”

Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2012.