We Were Completely Outplayed: Dhoni
NAGPUR: Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni admitted that India were completely outplayed by South Africa in the first cricket Test that was over in four days here Tuesday.
World No.1 India aiming for the Test champhionship crown lost the match by an innings and six runs. The win has given second placed South Africa a chance to aim for the title if they go on to win the two-match series. The second match will be played in Kolkata from Sunday.
Dhoni said that performances by Jacques Kallis (173), Hashim Amla (253) and Dale Steyn, who had a match haul of 10 wickets, were the deciding factors.
"We were completely outplayed. (Jacques) Kallis and (Hashim) Amla played brilliantly and Dale Steyn - the way he bowled.... was the best I have seen in the last two years at least as far as conventional bowling goes. Seven of the 14 dismissals were out to great deliveries," said Dhoni.
"The ball was changed at tea break and we lost five quick wickets. It changed everything. Once we lost (Virender) Sehwag, I got out immediately and the ball was reversing .. it was difficult for the tailenders. We are on the backfoot. They (South Africa) can't lose the series now. So, we are under pressure. Last time when they came, they were ahead and in the same position."
South Africa captain Graeme Smith lauded his boys for the excellent performance.
"It has been outstanding performance from the guys. To win here, you need lot of discipline and the guys have showed it. There were a few special individual performances like Amla, Kallis and Steyn but it is a good team effort," he said.
"It was an emotional last two weeks what with all the changes going around. It's nice to have a someone like (Steyn). To run in like that and bowl as he did. It all happenned so quickly even for us; it was great to watch. Harris .. he bowled well, he is not fancied cricketer you know, but he knows his role and he has come back well," Smith added.
Hashim Amla, who was adjudged Man of the Match, for scoring 253 rated his knock as one of the best.
"It was one of my best knocks. It was a crucial time when I came into the crease and I got the team into a great position. Everybody feels a bit of pressure and I am just grateful that I got an opportunity to put the team in a good position. I have had a few good partnerships with Jacques; once we both got in, we complimented each other.... when I wasn't scoring he was, and vice versa. With the ball turning, anything can happen. With the new guy coming in, I just tried to keep it as risk-free as possible. yes, so I concentrated not on hitting anything in the air. I just hope Eden Gardens gets a good crowd," he said.