London: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said loss of key players to injuries midway through the first Test did not allow them to play to their full potential against England.
India lost the first Test by 196 runs on the fifth day here Monday.
They had lost Zaheer Khan on the first day when the pacer strained his hamstring and could not bowl for the rest of the match. Sachin Tendulkar was down with a viral infection and Gautam Gambhir hurt his elbow that changed the batting order in the second innings when India were chasing 458 runs for victory.
"It was a very good Test match. Kevin Pietersen and Matt Prior came up with brilliant knocks and then there were couple of good knocks from Indian batsmen as well. Overall, it was a satisfying Test match."
"Zaheer's injury was a big blow for us. We had to play with three bowlers. The conditions were more suited for the fast bowlers and it was not spinning much. So it was tough for Harbhajan. The remaining bowlers had to bowl longer spells. I was pleased with how the bowlers stuck to it."
"Unfortunately, Sachin was also unfit and had viral infection and Gambhir got injured which means that the the batting order had to be shuffled in the second innings. Batsmen were not batting at their usual position."
Asked that India always gets off to a sluggish start overseas, Dhoni said: "Had we known the reason we would have ensured it does not happen again. It is a long series and there is a lot more exciting cricket in store."
A lot of important players were not playing in West Indies. Tendulkar, Gambhir and Zaheer missed the series in the Caribbean and joined the team here. They played only one three-day warm up match before the first Test.
"A few more days of preparations would have been good. We made the most of the opportunity we have got and that's what we will do before the second Test."
Asked about Zaheer's injury, Dhoni said his condition is being assessed and he should be bowling in the second Test, starting at Trent Bridge Friday.
In the absence of Zaheer, Dhoni had to bowl eight overs of gentle medium pace to give rest to his bowlers. "I hope not to be bowling again. It's a tough job, my whole body hurts - from my toe-nail to head," Dhoni said with a smile.