Dhoni blames openers, but lauds part time spinners

Durban, Jan 13 : Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni blamed a poor start but lauded the part time spinners as India suffered a humiliating 135 runs loss to South Africa in the first One-day International at the Kingsmead Stadium here Wednesday.

Chasing a target of 290 runs, India were bowled out for 154 runs in 35.4 overs as South Africa took a 1-0 lead in the five match series.

India’s regular openers Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag are missing the series due to injuries and in their absence Murali Vijay and Sachin Tendulkar failed to give a good start.

“Completely outplayed. They got off to a very good start. Ashish (Nehra) had a bad day, so the pressure was on the part-timers who did a very good job. But the chase – never really happened for us today.

“We depend on the start (with the bat) – anything over 250 is tough to chase in Kingsmead. The new guys have not got enough practice because of the rains. Hopefully they will acclimatise with time and we can make the series more interesting,” Dhoni said.

Part time spinners Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina shared three wickets between them. Sharma also broke the crucial 131-run stand between AB de Villiers (76) and Jean Paul Duminy (73) that helped South Africa recover from a poor start and post 289 for nine.

South Africa captain Graeme Smith admitted that the 131-run stand was crucial for the win.

“Very complete performance. AB and JP’s partnership was crucial. We played street-smart in the end overs and got to a good solid score. I enjoyed being in the slips for Lopsy (Lonwabo Tsotsobe), if he keeps bowling like this he will be one of the best. World Cup will be in a different environment, but getting confidence and form here will be crucial,” he said.

Tsotsobe, who was Man of the Match for his four for 31, said he enjoyed the prized wicket of Tendulkar.

“This is my favourite ground to bowl, I’ve always done my best here. I was a bit unlucky in the Tests, but did not give up. It’s paying off now. I was told by Dale that there wasn’t much swing, so I must hit my lengths, which I did. It was my day today. The most enjoyable wicket was that of Sachin’s,” he said.

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