Mumbai: His insistence on a spinning track boomeranging, a sheepish Mahendra Singh Dhoni Monday said he was disappointed with his tweakers who did not adjust their pace to exploit the pitch in the lost second cricket Test against England here.
India were handed a humiliating 10-wicket loss by the English, who were expected to struggle on the spinning track that Dhoni had asked for before the game. Instead of the host spinners, it was England's Monty Panesar who made batsmen dance to his tune and walked away with 11 wickets. On the other hand, Kevin Pietersen and Alastair Cook proved their class with hundreds on a track that seemed to terrorise other willow-wielders.
"Definitely outplayed. Monty bowled really well. All get turn, but the pace he bowled at made sure that the batsmen were on the front foot. To some extent, yes I am disappointed with our spinners. We let England bat on the back foot. We could have brought them forward," a disappointed Dhoni said at the presentation ceremony.
Dhoni had lambasted the opening Test pitch in Ahmedabad despite India's win, and on Monday he said, "All of a sudden they have to change their plan. Ahmedabad was completely different and it was a change of conditions."
Dhoni said the next two Tests, starting with the game in Kolkata on December 5, would be a test of character for his team. "When two best sides are playing, series are close. It will be a test of character in the two coming games," he said.
Dhoni's rival number Alastair Cook said he has all but forgotten the disappointment of losing the toss. "Without a doubt, it is a great win. I can't fault the effort of the lads. I could have called heads and obviously it was an important toss. The way we bowled on that first day it was fantastic," said Cook.
Cook lauded the contribution made by Pietersen and Panesar. "You don't need to tell KP anything and it was great to watch from the other end. Credit to the way Graeme Swann and Monty bowled. Brilliant performance. It's been interesting two weeks and we have seen ends of the spectrum," he said referring to the nine-wicket loss in Ahmedabad.
Man-of-the-Match Pietersen rated his hundred in the match highly. "Now that we have won, this hundred is at the top. Yesterday I said Test hundreds feel a lot better when you win," said Pietersen.
Back in the fold after being at loggerheads with the England Cricket Board for some time, Pietersen lauded his team-mates and the dressing room unity. "Panesar and Swann were outstanding. Cooky didn't talk about himself, but he was outstanding. What a difference a week makes. The way boys have come back is great. Cricket-wise, it is not bad now.
"Thanks to the guys in the dressing room and the management. Every day you put on an England jersey, it is special. Thanks to the supporters who have travelled, and also the Indian support. They have been great too," he said.
Asked what was the key to performing well on the Indian soil, Pietersen said, "You have to trust your defence, that is the big difference. You play sweep shots early on, it doesn't look that good."