Kanpur:Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Sunday attributed the "collective performance" of his team for India's victory in the third and cricket Test against South Africa and said it would be unfair to devalue the players' effort just because the track was helpful to the hosts.
"It is a credit to the players. Yes, the track was helpful but credit should go to the players for performing in such a way in difficult conditions. This win was very important for us," Dhoni said after India levelled the series 1-1 with a comfortable eight-wicket victory within three days on Sunday.
Dhoni said he did not expect the match to be over in the third day itself but it was made possible because his bowlers "bowled in the right areas" and kept pressure on the South African batsmen.
"Our bowlers really bowled well today. They bowled in the right areas and created a lot of pressure on the batsmen," he said.
Dhoni was not too critical of the under-prepared Green Park track and said every place had its own type of wickets.
"When you go to Australia you have bouncy tracks, in England you have tracks which help swing bowling. When you come to India, you should expect such kind of tracks. Every place has its own specialty," he said.
"It looked like a fourth day track. Usually such tracks change quickly and we knew it was a matter of time before it deteriorated rapidly," he said.
Dhoni lavished praise on the last-wicket pair of S Sreesanth and Ishant Sharma for giving the team a crucial 60-run lead in the first innings.
"That was really crucial. It allowed us to gain a psychological advantage and play the mind game. Everything worked well for us today," Dhoni said.
On why he began the bowling operations in the second innings with Harbhajan Singh, he said, "we knew the ball will start turning. It was a deliberate decision. We also knew that after some time, the ball will start reverse swinging, and we wanted to keep our pacemen fresh."
Asked whether India should have gone into the game with three specialist spinners, Dhoni said, "on such a track, you don't need a third spinner.
"We knew Viru (Virender Sehwag) and Yuvi (Yuvraj Singh) could chip in. In fact, our part time bowlers also did a very good job. It was not difficult to finalise the composition."
On whether he found captaining the Test team a bigger challenge, Dhoni said, "I am happy that everything I tried worked well. It is easier to captain in such conditions. But then you cannot replace Anil Kumble as captain or player. If he was playing, the match would not have lasted even three days".
"Captaining the team in T20, one-dayers or Tests has its own requirements. The team had the intensity and the will to win," said Dhoni, who became the first wicket-keeper to captain India in Tests.
Asked whether new coach Gary Kirsten's inputs were making a difference to the team, he said it was still early to judge him.
"At this stage, players don't need to be told about techniques and all. But he is motivating the players and working on their mental aspects," he said.