Mohali:England never really had a chance of coming back into the Test series after losing the first match as the hosts would definitely take home advantage, according to Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni who reckoned that a three-match series would have been more ideal.
"It would have been good to have a three-match series," Dhoni told reporters after the second and final match ended in a draw on Tuesday.
"Their chance of coming back into the series was really low. In a two-match series, if you are a visiting side and have lost the first match, its always difficult to make a comeback. You always know that leading 1-0, the local team would prepare wicket that suits them and take home advantage," Dhoni explained.
"I think three Tests would have been ideal and five bit too long," he said.
His opposite number Kevin Pietersen also felt a three match series would have been more appropriate even though he refused to whine.
"Three is ideal...But this is the schedule we got and had to deal with. We needed to win at least one to tie the series but unfortunately things didnt go our way, Pietersen rued.
Dhoni felt it was overall a good series, which was intensely fought between two quality sides.
"I think we had a really good series. The first Test went into the last day and was quite interesting. In this Test also, when we lost a few top order wickets quickly (in the second innings), things became quite interesting. I think the English bowlers bowled really well and we had one good series," Dhoni said.
Asked if Englands resolute show in the second Test surprised him, Dhoni said, "Not really. I said before the start of the series that they are a good bowling side. If someone like (Andrew) Flintoff comes at number seven, you have five specialist bowlers in your side.
"Freddie is not just an all-rounder, hes often better than your main fast bowler. He provides balance in the side. I never doubted their batting either. Pietersen played really well here and Freddie also chipped in."
On whether occupying the number two spot in ICC Test rankings would keep the team under pressure, Dhoni said that would not be the case.
"Not really. We wanted to be the number two team and we want to play good cricket. We have plans and their execution has been brilliant so far. We want to play good cricket and that would take care of the rankings. Ranking is not really our focus," he said.
Dhoni was particularly happy with Yuvraj Singhs performance and felt the left-hander needed to remain himself and not bother about the fact that he was stepping in the shoes of the retired former captain Sourav Ganguly.
"He is very talented and its not about filling in the place left vacant by Sourav. We dont want him to be someones replacement, all we want him to be is Yuvraj Singh. We just need him to bat the way he does. He is an aggressive player and the couple of innings he played would give him a lot of confidence," Dhoni said.
Asked if he felt allowing Yuvraj play 14-15 innings without bothering about a berth in the side would help him cement his place, Dhoni said, "Hell cement his place well before that."
Told about Pietersens pie-chucker comment about Yuvraj, Dhoni quipped, "Its lovely to have a pie-chucker who has got him out five times. I would love to have some more such pie-chuckers."
Dhoni was effusive in his praise of Player of the Series Zaheer Khan and the opening pair of Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag.
"Zaheer has been excellent throughout the series. He is clear in his thoughts and has transformed himself into a thinking cricketer. He has plans for every batsman and if it doesnt click, he always has plan B. He has been brilliant over the last couple of years."
"On the other hand, Viru and Gauti give us the kind of starts which lays the platform for a big score. They complement each other, their shot selection is good and they run really well between the wicket," Dhoni said.
Dhoni also said Rahul Dravid's return to form augured well for the team.
"We tour New Zealand next year where the ball would do quite a bit. Conditions there are ideal for the seamers and so it's good to have Rahul back among the runs. He can direct us what we need to do there," Dhoni explained.
Finally asked what prompted him to bowl the last over of the day, Dhoni said, "They (teammates) pushed me to bowl."