Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Tuesday, hailed his team's all-round performance after India's crushing nine-wicket win over Alastair Cook & Co. that handed them the their first bilateral series win in England in 24 years. Yet, Dhoni conceded that his side have hardly been tested by the hosts. (Highlights)
"We were not tested because our fast bowlers bowled well initially in the game. Where they didn't bowl well, the spinners took the responsibility. In batting, we have kept improving from the first game, which I feel is important. We will only see how much we will be tested," Dhoni said.
"Testing is good, but you don't always want to be tested. You want to win games easily too, you don't always want to hang in until the 49th-50th over," he added. (Ian Bell suffers broken toe)
Dhoni also took this moment to applaud his current and former teammates for helping him become the most successful Indian ODI captain.
"When I started leading the team, I got a fantastic team then, and I have got a fantastic side right now," said Dhoni, who became the most successful Indian ODI captain with 91 wins.
"There will be ups and downs, but thanks to everyone, whoever I have played with. Without their contribution it wouldn't really have been possible. All the senior players I played with and who played under me, followed by the youngsters. I personally feel we are a very good, a fantastic ODI side. And there will be ups and downs, but what is important is to keep the intent positive. Thanks to all the players," he said.
Talking pertinently about the series win, Dhoni said India kept on improving with every match especially after the 1-3 drubbing in the Test series against England.
"The good thing is that we have kept improving from the first ODI onwards. That's definitely a big positive. It was a good toss to win today. The fast bowlers bowled really well initially and gave us those early breakthroughs because of which we were able to put pressure on their middle order.
"Overall we are very happy. Ajinkya Rahane also got a century and we got an opening partnership. So it was a complete game for us," he said.
Rahane scored 106 runs, his maiden ODI hundred, and put on 183 runs for the opening wicket with Shikhar Dhawan who returned to form with an unbeaten 97. Thanks to their efforts India scored 212 for one in just 30.3 overs, overhauling England's 206 all out with 19.3 overs to spare.
"In this particular game, yes, the openers batted well. But they have to continue doing this in each and every game, or most of the games," said Dhoni.
"That is when you can say the problem has been sorted. They will find it tough. At the same time if they can get us a good opening partnership, not always in terms of runs, if they play through 8-10 overs and don't give away wickets scoring even at four to five runs per over, we consider it a very good start because we know we have the batsmen who can make up for the deliveries lost in the first 10 overs.
"As far as this series is concerned, we haven't really faced slog overs from the opposition. Apart from that, the new-ball bowling has been good, spinners have been fantastic, there were run-outs in the games, brilliant catches, partnerships, so everything else has been covered apart from the slog bowling. That's one area that will only happen if the opposition has wickets in hand," Dhoni added.
This ODI series win will surely lift some gloom off the Test results on this tour.
"We had a tough time in the Test series, but the change of format helps. This format pushes you to be impressive on the field, but at the same time pushes you to back yourself to play your shots. I was very happy with the fast bowlers, especially how they bowled with the new ball. And spinners as well, when they have a bit of help from the wicket, they will always do well," Dhoni said.
"That's what our team is known to be. If there is help, they will bowl well. And the batting partnerships have been good too."
The fifth and final ODI, now a dead rubber, will be played at Leeds on Friday.