Dhoni surprised by the way Australia caved in

Mohali, Oct 21 (UNI) Stand-in Test skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni today admitted that he was surprised to see the spineless display by the Australians and said he has never seen the world champions getting so throughly outplayed.

Talking to the media after a crushing victory over the visitors, Dhoni said,''Honestly speaking, we have not seen this before. I mean in their first innings, there were 22 for two wickets after 13 overs.

I was so surprised that I told Rahul (Dravid) that you don't see things like that very often.'' Dhoni, who slammed half centuries in both the innings and led India to their biggest win against the Aussies, was declared Man of the Match.

He however, cautioned his players against lowering their guard.

''Well, they had a few bad games so far. But that does not mean they have lost edge. They are still the number one team in the world, a very talented side,'' Dhoni said.

''They would come back strongly, that'w what you expect from them.

I'm expecting good cricket in the next two Test matches as well,'' he added.

The skipper singled out Zaheer Khan for special praise. ''We hit the right areas, got to swing the ball and did an excellent job with reverse swing. When the ball was hard, it hurried to the batsman but once it was 45-50 over-old, it was tough for the spinners to get that bounce and zing. But still, whenever they got the opportunity, they made it count. All four bowlers shared the responsibility well and did an excellent job.'' ''I think Zaheer is bowling at his peak. He has got great commitment and fortunately there is no injury woes for him either.

He was bowling his heart out. Even in tracks where he does not get much help, you can be sure that he would give more than 100 per cent. He is in brilliant form and I hope he would continue it in the entire series,'' he stated.

He also lavished praise on Amit Mishra who got into the playing eleven after regular skipper Anil Kumble was ruled out with a shoulder injury, saying he had enough faith in the leg-spinner.

''I believe in each and every member of the squad. When Anil Bhai is not playing, you know you won't get those wickets from him.

So you turn to whoever comes as his replacement. Doubting anyone's ability doesn't help.

''I knew Amit may not have 500-600 Test wickets behind him but he is experienced enough. He has played lot of domestic cricket and has the variation,'' the skipper said.

''Amit is different from others. He is very slow and gives lot of flights. He is not quick in the air and you have to be very careful in your shot selection and you have to use your feet against him.

''I think he would learn more, especially to use the slider rather than his leg-spin all the time,'' he added.

About his own form, Dhoni said it felt great to play his natural, aggressive cricket. ''It was the perfect scenario to just go out and play my natural game. We got a good start, the track was placid and the ball old. It was just the perfect occasion for my sort of batting,'' he remarked.

''At times, I didn't play my natural game because I had to look at the scenario and play accordingly. But my actual strength is my strokeplaying and in situation like this, one should always play aggressively,'' he added.

Asked about the the special memory for him in this match, Dhoni said, ''It's Sourav's 7000 Test runs. Since he is playing his last series, he is just going out and enjoying the game, playing without any pressure. That's how you want to see him play. He is very different from others.'' UNI HSB AB CS1338

Story first published: Tuesday, October 21, 2008, 14:08 [IST]
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