India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni feels his side played a “perfect game” as the visitors thrashed England by nine wickets in the fourth One-Dayer to take an invincible 3-0 lead in thne five-match series.
Opting to bowl, India first restricted England to a modest 206 and then overwhelmed the target in 30.3 overs to record their third consecutive victory in the ODI series at the the Edgbaston, in what turned out to be yet another lopsided contest.
“Considering the first game, our performance only got better,” Dhoni said at the post-match presentation. “There is a tendency to lax after win, but we only got better and today (Tuesday) was a perfect game,” he said.
“The seamers bowled in the right areas and it was crucial because I thought it wouldn’t turn much. The fast bowlers set it up, because they took wickets and when the spinners came the batting was under pressure.”
Dhoni praised young Ajinkya Rahane, who came in to open the batting in place of injured Rohit Sharma and scored his maiden ODI century with a 100-ball 106-run knock.
Opening the innings, Rahane and an woefully out-of-form Shikhar Dhawan (97 not out) put on 183 runs for the first wicket to set the platform for the victory.
“The openers, if they can face 10 to 12 overs, it gives us a platform. It was good to see Dhawan back in form. Rahane was always someone who was third in line for the opening slot and he has made the most out of it. He is a good timer which makes it slightly easy for him. It’s a spot that suits him. Rohit is a very talented guy and we are not making any decisions (on opening) as yet. I feel a lot of credit goes to the seniors I played under and the youngsters,” Dhoni said.
England captain Alastair Cook feels India outplayed the hosts in all departments of the game.
“A very tough day. The sport turns change so quickly. It is frustrating not to play to your potential,” he said. “We were going to bat first anyway. India certainly batted better, fielder better, and bowled better. It is always tough to lose three games in a row and in a manner that we lost,” Cook said.
Cook said with the 2015 World Cup a few months away, England need to pull up their socks to be a contender for the coveted trophy.
“There is a World Cup a few months away and you have to show you are hungry. We just need to look at ourselves and improve. There is potential but we need to improve,” he said.
He also praised Moeen Ali for his attacking 67 off 50 balls in terms of adversity.
“Moeen batted very well. He was the only guy to have a good day today (Tuesday). We are pretty clear on the personnel we need, but if people do not sore runs, or take wickets.. they certainly have the potential.. They need to turn up,” Cook said.
Man-of-the-match Rahane, on his part, credited his bowling mates to set up the series-clinching win for India.
“Feels really great when you get a 100 and the team wins. Credit goes to the bowlers as well for setting up the match,” he said.
“I was batting well after the first few games and I was focussing to stay there. Really happy for Dhawan, the way he batted was special. We just wanted to enjoy the game. It’s a great challenge to open, you have to prepare your mind,” he signed off.