Dhoni's priority is to test reserves, not aiming at record

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/d/dhonisl11.jpg' class='caption'> India will prefer to test their bench strength in the dead rubbers instead of aiming at their record ninth straight win, says captain MS Dhoni.

Updated: February 04, 2009 14:51 IST
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Satisfied with the series win, Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni will prefer to test his reserve players instead of aiming at their record ninth straight win in the remainder of the five-match ODI against Sri Lanka.

India thrashed hosts Sri Lanka by 147 runs in the third ODI on Tuesday not only to seal the series with an unbeatable 3-0 lead but also equal their own record of winning eight ODIs on the trot.

Dhoni said fielding reserve players -- so that they too get a chance to prove their mettle -- was more important than retaining the winning squad in pursuit of their record ninth straight ODI win.

"We are not looking at the record. Rather, we will give chance to players who didn't get a chance to play in the series so far," Dhoni after the match last night.

"We are 3-0 up and have already won the series. It gives us an opportunity to play those players. For us, this is the priority.

"The team is not looking at the record but giving chance to those players," Dhoni said.

Looking at today's match, Dhoni said the 221-run stand between Yuvraj Singh (117) and Virender Sehwag (116) made all the difference.

"They way they batted, it was just brilliant. They forced the Lankan bowlers to bowl in bad areas by scoring off the good deliveries," Dhoni observed.

His opposite number Mahela Jayawardene also echoed his view and said the hosts could not recover from the thrashing. "The way Yuvraj and Viru batted, they played really well. They raised 200-plus runs and that set up the match for them," he said.

"We did have our chances but we could not capitalise on those. They really played good and put our bowlers under pressure. It was always difficult to come back after that," Jayawardene said.

The Lanka skipper admitted there were some grey areas for the team and felt it was important to win the next two matches even if the series was already lost.

"There are certain areas we need to tighten up. Against a good opposition like India, certain things were not upto the standard.

"We'll definitely have a chat with the selectors now but we need our best team to win the next two matches, which is very important to get back the confidence. We have a lot of cricket ahead," he said.

Man of the Match Yuvraj Singh, meanwhile, expressed his gratitude to fellow centurion Sehwag and sought to share the award with him.

"I share this Man of the Match award with Sehwag. He has been brilliant today and took pressure off my shoulder," he said.

"In a partnership, normally one guys works off the pace, nudging the ball around. But both of us were devastating today. We put bad balls to boundary," he said.

Heaping praise on Sehwag, Yuvraj said, "I think it's a big achievement to score a century ahead of Sehwag. He generally gets there within a blink."

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