Captain Dhoni blames pitch for defeat in second ODI

Jul 26, 2012, 08:03 IST | Agencies

Captain Dhoni puts onus on surface for Tuesday's big loss to Sri Lanka

Rejecting suggestions that rash shots led to the stunning collapse in the second ODI against Sri Lanka on Tuesday, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni blamed the pitch for India’s poor batting performance.

Skipper MS Dhoni (right) and coach Duncan Fletcher inspect the pitch in Hambantota on Friday. PIC/AFP

India were bowled out for 138 in 33.3 overs — their fourth-lowest ODI total in the last five years — by the hosts, who chased the target in under 20 overs. The five-match series is currently tied 1-1. “The pitch was next to the wicket we played on last time but it behaved in a completely different way,” Dhoni said referring to the track used for the opening ODI in which India posted a 300-plus score. “Initially, the wicket 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 wicket, we lost two wickets. I thought after that it was too much for batsmen like Irfan (Pathan) and R Ashwin to come in and take us out of trouble,” he added.

Dhoni defended his batsmen’s shot selection. “I don’t think there were shots that were really rash. People were looking for singles. If you see Rohit’s ball, the shot was on. But he got an inside edge and it went onto the stumps,” he said.

However, Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene disagreed with Dhoni, insisting that the wicket was not that bad. “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,” said Jayawardene.

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