India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni yesterday told MiD DAY that he was well aware of his team's slow over-rate in the Perth Test and even tried to rectify it but couldn't. Dhoni was handed a one-Test ban for India's slow over-rate and will have to sit out the fourth Test in Adelaide.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni Pic/ AFP
"We were behind in the over rate by just about eight minutes -- which is two and a half overs. I realised this and tried to make up for it by bringing on Virender Sehwag (off-spin) to bowl (71st over).
However, Sehwag getting the wicket of Ben Hilfenhaus changed things. The ninth wicket was that of Ryan Harris (in 73rd over) and Hilfenhaus fell exactly three overs later (76th over). Had Hilfenhaus played for another three overs, we would have been inside the over-rate," Dhoni explained.
Meanwhile, the entire Indian team except Zaheer Khan, trained for a good two and a half hours at the Western Australia Cricket Association Ground (WACA) yesterday. The batsmen were sent to the ground from the team hotel separately in two batches to ensure each one got maximum time in the nets.
Coach Duncan Fletcher was seen speaking with almost every Indian player at the nets. It is also learnt that for the last three days Fletcher has been having a series of one-on-one conversations with each of the Indian players at the hotel.
Dhoni was seen bowling in the nets. He also asked wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, who will keep wickets in his place in the fourth Test in Adelaide, if he was keen on having another go with the bat.
Saha agreed and the Indian skipper readily bowled to him. This was Team India's final training session in Perth. They leave for Adelaide today where they are not scheduled to practice for the next two days. The fourth and final Test begins on January 24.