James Anderson was the difference between India and England, says skipper MS Dhoni
Dhoni said his team made a few mistakes, including the loss of wickets in heap in the third game at Kolkata, but added there were a few positives too. "In Kolkata in one session we lost 6-7 wickets. It was very important to absorb pressure at that time. It's all about partnerships. On a flat wicket once you go in you are in some doubt but you become calmer as you play more.
India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Monday said that pacer James Anderson's ability to reverse swing the ball in his second and third spells played a "crucial" role in England's historic 2-1 Test series win here after a gap of 28 years.
England sealed the series after the fourth and final Test ended in a draw at the VCA stadium in Jamtha.
"I felt Anderson bowled well throughout the series on wickets where there was not much help for the fast bowlers. That was very crucial," said Dhoni after the match.
"He was at the batsmen all the time, specially the second and third spells of his where the ball had started to reverse and still was slightly on the harder side.
"He made the most out of that spell and kept the batsmen guessing. I think the major difference between the two sides was James Anderson who bowled very well," he added.
The England pace spearhead grabbed 12 wickets in four Tests at 30.25, while Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar accounted for 20 and 17 victims from four and three games respectively.
"If you see their side, they are a very well balanced side. The two spinners they have got... Monty is a very good spinner and Graeme Swann is among the best in the world," the skipper said.
Dhoni said his team made a few mistakes, including the loss of wickets in heap in the third game at Kolkata, but added there were a few positives too.
"In Kolkata in one session we lost 6-7 wickets. It was very important to absorb pressure at that time. It's all about partnerships. On a flat wicket once you go in you are in some doubt but you become calmer as you play more.
"There were a few positives and a few places where we lost out. That's the reason we lost the series," he said. Asked if this was the toughest phase for Indian cricket after the 2007 World Cup disaster, Dhoni said the latter cannot be compared with any other low.
"It was tough, but not even close to what we went through after we lost in the 2007 World Cup. Of course we are going through a tough time and a stage where we have to see what really works for us.
"A few big players have left us (and) the youngsters coming through will have to fill in the gaps and the seniors will have to take extra responsibility till the juniors start getting runs," said Dhoni.
India have lost three big Test rubbers under his captaincy out of the last five, with the wins coming against lowly ranked West Indies and New Zealand.
Asked whether he got the pitches he wished for, Dhoni said the Mumbai track was the best, adding that there was an effort to make a good wicket at the VCA Stadium in Jamtha, which attracted criticism from all quarters.
"The wicket at Mumbai was a very good wicket. Good bounce and turn was there for the spinners. That was a very sporting wicket in the sub continent as the batsman also got a chance to play shots as the ball came on nicely.
"Sometimes you will get wickets like this too where matches are drawn but it's very difficult to make other kinds of wickets in the subcontinent.
"It's difficult to make a good wicket in the sub continent. Till the effort is made to prepare a good wicket we have to accept it. It was a wicket on the flatter side but I am happy at least there was an effort to make a good wicket.
"I felt the wicket improved as we went into the fifth day. How many on-drives did we see on the first day, but today there were five to nine on-drives against the spin which means the grass grew and it made the track better paced for batsmen to play their strokes," Dhoni added.
Asked why the team was not more attacking in the field, Dhoni said the wicket was not conducive to keep so many fielders near the bat.
"We bowled for ten hours and got three batsmen out; you have to evaluate the wicket from this. We can keep three or four slips but the wicket should really support that. Okay I did not have a silly point or a short leg for a long time but how many balls went there?
"It's very easy to sit out and say that fielder should have been there or this fielder should have been there.
"Aggression is just not putting a silly point or a short leg or at slip. It is very important to analyse and see how you can get the batsmen out."
Dhoni said the youngsters, who are picked to fill the big boots, need to be backed for a while.
"You have to back youngsters who you think are very talented and can succeed at the top level even if they fail initially. Without trying them out how will you know? There have been instances when people have failed in their first few games and then went on to become very good Test cricketers.
"It's difficult to replace Rahul Dravid or VVS Laxman or Sachin Tendulkar. What's important is whether the youngster coming in can absorb the pressure," he said.
"It's very difficult to assess a player after just one performance. Piyush came after five years and he will feel the nerves. I don't think it was a fantastic wicket for him to bowl, there was no pace," he noted.
Dhoni rued the absence of big partnerships though he and Virat Kohli stitched a stand of 198, which rescued the side from a difficult 87 for four at one stage.
"Batting department was the one which was lacking, in the sense that we needed to score more runs. If you see the wickets, Mumbai was a tough wicket. Apart from that we were not able to get into big partnerships which are very crucial.
"We were not able to put up those big partnerships to have a big impact, especially in the sub continent we were not able to get into the fourth innings of the opponent, which I feel is important in India because the fourth innings is the period where the game changes quickly."
Dhoni said his side fielded better in this Test.
"We have seen some improvement especially in this Test match where we had a few young players who we could place at (vital) points and restrict them (opponents) from taking singles and rotating the strike.
Yes, a few catches were dropped, but that again is part and parcel of the game," he said.
Asked about getting run out on 99 in the first innings, Dhoni said that he thought there was a run there to be taken but was mistaken.
"I thought there was a run I went for it, I was wrong. It happens in cricket. Let's enjoy the 99 runs I got and not the one run I missed out on. It's not the first time I have got out in the 90s.
"I have four hundreds and six 90s so the tally is increasing, may be on the wrong side. But that's part and parcel of life."
Asked whether senior batsman Sachin Tendulkar, who had a woeful series, would play another Test, Dhoni said, "I hope so."
When questioned Dhoni replied that Tendulkar has "not" spoken to him about retirement.