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  • India v England, 2nd Test, Mumbai, 4th day

Dhoni: Panesar was England's match-winner

David Hopps
November 26, 2012 « England seal crushing ten-wicket victory | Chartbeat test »
File photo: MS Dhoni said the pace that Monty Paneasr bowled at proved key (ESPN is not carrying images from the series due to restrictions on the media) © AFP
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India's captain MS Dhoni identified Monty Panesar, the England left-arm spinner, as the main difference between the sides as he pinned most of the blame for defeat in Mumbai on his own slow bowlers.

Panesar took 11 wickets in the match, bowling at a brisker pace than India's spinners but still finding sharp turn, on a Wankhede surface that played into his hands.

"The way Monty bowled, he was different from all the other bowlers," Dhoni said. "All the other bowlers were getting a bit of bounce and turn but Monty was bowling at real pace. He was bowling close to 90-95kph and even above that and still he was able to get some turn so he was someone who had a big impact on the game. The other bowlers got wickets but they never troubled the other batsmen as Monty did.

"We also tried to bowl fast but we didn't get the same purchase out of the wicket that Monty got. It's the same as two different batsmen - some conditions suit them really well and some do not. I thought the only thing we could have done better was make them drive a bit more. Pietersen and Cook played off the back foot really well."

India's fate was sealed when they made only 142 in their second innings, setting England 57 for victory. "Two hundred would have been a decent score," Dhoni said. "If you assess the bowling of Monty, it was doing a lot. It's interesting. When two of the best sides are playing you want the series to be close and it will be a test of character, everyone will have to be at their best."

Dhoni insisted that there would be no let-up in his call for pitches which turn from the outset and presented them as the fairest test of the quality of the two sides.

"I think this was a very good wicket," he said. "Both the teams had equal chances. Still we would like a typical sub-continental wicket, it needs to turn and like I always say it should turn from the first day so there is no importance of the toss and it is up to the two teams, whichever plays better cricket wins the game. It will be tough to play on wickets like these but that is what Test cricket is all about.

"That is what our speciality is. What is the point of playing on flat tracks and trying to win the toss and just batting for three or four days over the Test match? I don't think that is really the point. You want to face challenges in Test cricket and these are the sort of wickets that push you towards that. Definitely all the wickets should be like this."

India's captain does not envisage sweeping changes in Kolkata. "We have got replacements, it is not like we don't have replacements," he said. "But you don't chop and change players on the basis of one of two Test matches. You have to give them a fair run."

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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