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We want a similar track in Kolkata: Dhoni

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Mumbai: India’s ploy to prepare a spinning track might have backfired as England registered a 10-wicket win in the second Test, but host captain MS Dhoni said he would like to have a similar pitch for the third game, starting in Kolkata on December 5.

“Of course, we want a similar track as that’s where our speciality is. What’s the point playing on flat tracks and trying to win the toss and just batting for three or four days,” said Dhoni after England inflicted a humiliating defeat on India in the second Test here to level the four-Test series at 1-1 apiece.

“You want to face challenges in Test cricket and these are the sort of wickets that push you towards that, so definitely all the wickets should be like that,” he added.

Insisting that he would like a typical sub-continental wicket in Kolkata as well, Dhoni said, “I would like a typical sub-continental wicket, which should turn from the first day as I have been saying, so that there is no importance of toss and whichever team plays better cricket wins the game.

“You feel a bit disappointed (at losing) but the good thing about these wickets is no side is guaranteed to win and have to play well to win. That’s why I call for a track that starts to turn early.”

Dhoni had asked for a turning track despite India winning the first Test by nine wickets on a low and slow pitch at Ahmedabad’s Motera stadium to go 1-0 up in the series.

Though his demand was met by the Wankhede curator, the hosts slumped to a huge defeat, unable to cope up with the left-arm spin of Monty Panesar and off spinner Graeme Swann.

Heaping praise on Panesar, who grabbed 11 wickets in the match, Dhoni said, “Monty bowled exceptionally well.

“Spinners from both sides bowled well but it was different to what Monty bowled.

“He was drawing the batsman to come on to the front foot more and was getting some turn too.”

“If you see specially in this Test match, Monty bowled differently from all the other (spin) bowlers. Others were getting some turn and bounce but Monty was someone who was bowling at real pace, close to 90-95 kmph or even above that.

“Still he was able to get some (quick) turn. I think he was the one who had a big impact on the game,” said Dhoni.

“If you compare all the other bowlers, most of them got the wickets but did not trouble the batsmen as much as Monty did, so I think a big credit goes to him. If you get performances like these the margin of defeats can be bigger.”

Dhoni also added that in comparison to Panesar, India’s spin trio of Pragyan Ojha, Ravichandran Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh bowled a bit too short.

The Indian skipper appreciated the efforts of the batsmen – Cheteshwar Pujara, Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen – all of whom batted well on a track that was assisting the bowlers.

“Credit goes to Pujara from our side who batted really well (in making 135 in the first innings).

“And Pietersen and Cook batted really well, played off the back-foot really well. I wish we (our bowlers) could have been a bit fuller and asked them to drive a bit more.

“We also tried to bowl fast but did not get the same sort of purchase from the wicket as Monty got. The way he bowled put a lot of pressure on the batsmen and he did not give us anything easy to score off.

“The thing we could have done slightly better is let them drive a bit more than what we did because if you bowl short on a wicket that has a bit of bounce you (batsmen) get more time especially if you bowl slow,” explained Dhoni. (PTI)

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