Mahendra Singh Dhoni was critical of his batsmen once again after India were shot out for 94, crashing to an innings and 244 runs inside three days as England took the five-Test series 3-1 at The Oval on Sunday.
India's abysmal show with the bat on their nightmarish tour of England continued as the visitors lost eight wickets in a session, in a batting collapse very similar to Manchester, where nine went down last Saturday.
Dhoni admitted that his team barely competed in the series and conceded a loss in confidence through the hammering in a long-drawn Test series. (India lose inside three days again, England clinch series 3-1 Â | Highlights)
"We never really competed in this series.Â We've lost a lot of confidence over the five-Test series and it is disappointing. But there will be many experiences which the youngsters will learn from; not too many have played Tests away from home and hopefully they can take that it into the future," said Dhoni. (Dhoni adds more records despite India's poor loss)
"Right from the start, our batsmen never really performed, the lower order helped out. That blurred the performance of the top order; just scoring 150-60 runs will not put pressure on the home team," Dhoni said at the post-match presentation ceremony. ('Team India has shamed us')
The Indian captain, who himself was in fine form this series, had spoken earlier of how the lower-order had camouflaged the failure of the top-order batsmen. However, once Bhuvenshwar Kumar lost form with the bat, the scorecards started to look poor, culminating in a humiliating 94 all out in the final innings.
Another series defeat overseas raised questions on India's ability to win in unfamiliar conditions. The pitches in England were tailor-made for the pacers and while the hosts exploited the conditions to their effect, India were just unable to pick up the pieces and learn their lessons. Dhoni said the conditions were demanding, but felt the pitches were sporting and the consistency of the English attack made all the difference in the end.
"The conditions were demanding but the wickets were good; there was nice pace and bounce.Â In overcast conditions, fast bowlers get swing and the English bowlers were very consistent. The batting unit felt the pressure of not scoring, that's what you have to do in Test cricket, absorb pressure," Dhoni said.
However, India were not just fighting alien conditions. No player from the current squad had ever been involved in a five-Test series and the fatigue began to tell by the end: "A five-Test series was very demanding; you could see with Bhuvneshwar, the effects on him but we couldn't replace him because he was our best bowler. There was no one else to replace him."
Despite the humbling losses, Dhoni sought to take some positives from the series. The skipper hoped his young side would learn from the mistakes committed on this tour and come back stronger and better in the future: "Our playing XI didn't have many Tests, so we lacked experience but until they play international cricket, they won't get that. It's important to play here, learn lessons and come back strong."
Dhoni did well to rescue India on numerous occasions in the series with his batting but he will have to answer a lot of questions as far as his captaincy in overseas tours is concerned. India will travel to Australia later this year for a four-match Test series and the future looks as bleak as ever.