A dejected India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Tuesday, held the poor performance of his pacers responsible for the visitors' humiliating 0-3 ODI series loss against New Zealand.
Trailing 0-2, India lost the fourth ODI by seven wickets against New Zealand here on Tuesday to slump to their second consecutive series defeat overseas. (4th ODI scorecard)
"Frankly, our bowling was quite disappointing. This was a kind of wicket where one thing you don't want to do is to bowl short and wide. I think we consistently did that with the new ball and the older ball. We often complain about the five fielders outside the circle, but when you bowl short and wide it doesn't matter. I think the fast bowlers gave away too many runs. Talking about spinners, they bowled well and hit the right areas," Dhoni said at the post-match presentation ceremony. (Highlights)
Chasing 279 for victory, New Zealand reached 280 for three in 48.1 overs with Ross Taylor hitting a match-winning 127-ball unbeaten 112 to take the hosts home with 11 balls to spare and take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match rubber.
This was India's second consecutive series defeat on the foreign soil after the South African tour.
Dhoni said lack of partnerships did them in as they lost wickets at "wrong time".
"We struggled at the top. I think the last game we got some kind of start going but this time game again we struggled. Once 10 overs are gone, we lost couple of wickets.
"We have to get some kind of partnership going, we did get some kind of partnership going late in the day but we lost wickets at the wrong time which means it puts pressure on the middle-order and that frustrates you because then you fail to get those extra 15-20 runs for par plus score," he said.
The skipper praised the New Zealand bowlers for hitting the right areas and not allowing the Indian batsmen free their arms.
"I think they bowled well. They put pressure on our batsmen to play those big shots and at times it did not pay. In the end, we were left doing the catching up job," Dhoni said.
Dhoni asked his batsmen to take up more responsibility and do well in the fifth and final match of the series in Wellington.
"We'll take it one game at a time. We have not done well in the series especially the batsmen. Most of our batsmen have got starts but they were not able to push on. It's important that people who get start they keep on building it. But that has not been the case in the series. Most of our batsmen got starts, but they were not able to hang on to it."
After wrapping up the series 3-0 in their favour, a visibly satisfied New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum expressed happiness over his team's performance, saying: "you don't blank the No.1 team too often".
"The conditions were tough tonight. Conditions suited India more than us and we lost the toss and gave them far too many runs in the end. We are going to enjoy this one and you don't blank the No.1 team too often and we will look to do that," McCullum said.
McCullum praised Ross Taylor and pacer Kyle Mills for setting up the comfortable win with their fine performances.
"We knew someone had to bat well and get a big hundred and Rosco (Taylor) did that. Mills is outstanding, it was good to give someone else an opportunity on a horses for courses thing on a quicker wicket. The blueprint of the batting shouldn't change. It was great that Rosco got a match-winning hundred and we're very happy," he said.
Man-of-the-match Taylor said he was happy to deliver the match-winning knock for his team in a crunch game.
"It was nice to go out there and put that hard work in nets and throw-downs to good use. I've been known as a bottom hand player and it was good to show this side of my game too," he said.