Why do India lose opening Tests?

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/d/dhoni-sl09.jpg' class='caption'> Indian captain MS Dhoni said it is imperative for his team to rectify the growing tendency of losing the first Test of a home or overseas series.

Updated: December 22, 2010 16:00 IST
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Stung by the humiliating defeat against South Africa at Centurion, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Wednesday said it is imperative for his team to rectify the growing tendency of losing the first Test match of a home or overseas series.

"That's one quality we have," a sarcastic Dhoni told reporters here, referring to India's innings and 25 runs defeat in the first Test.

"We don't really do well in the first Test. It's not only in India but even overseas. However, if you look at the previous records, we have come back well in the later stages. Hopefully, we will be back in the next two Test matches," an optimistic Dhoni said.

The Indian captain conceded that even though they devised a few plans for the South African batsmen, it didn't work out well.

The Indian bowlers were plundered for 620 runs at the Centurion and they managed to dismiss only four South African batsmen.

"It was difficult because there was not much help from the wicket. We don't have bowlers with express pace. They don't bowl in 140s so they have to be even more precise with their line and length," Dhoni tried to defend the pace trio of S Sreesanth, Ishant Sharma and rookie Jaydev Unadkat.

"We tried different fields. We tried to contain them but were unsuccessful for the better part of their innings," the Indian captain said.

When asked whether pace spearhead Zaheer Khan's absence made a big difference in the first Test, he said, "It's not that whenever Zaheer plays, he gets wickets. But with the amount of experience in his repertoire, he always has a back-up plan ready in case the first strategy doesn't work."

"It's always difficult to predict the performance of an individual. Especially, we talk a lot about an individual when he is not present," Dhoni added.

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