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24-Jan-2011 02:52:00 GMT
India in South Africa, 2010-11

Series a Lesson for Batsmen Before WC - Dhoni

Centurion: India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was disappointed that the batsmen failed to fire as a unit in the five-match ODI series against South Africa, which concluded on Sunday with the Proteas eking out a 33-run win in the final one-dayer to clinch the series 3-2.

"It's a disappointing series for the batsmen. Bowlers were getting the wickets, and the runs too. Overall, we haven't performed as a batting unit," Dhoni said.

"It was a good wicket but unfortunately, we kept losing wickets. We got out playing shots," Dhoni said of Sunday's match.

The series was significant as it preceded the World Cup, to be held in the sub-continent next month.

"The learning before the World Cup is to keep wickets in hand for the last ten overs, the powerplay. Two warm-up games before the World Cup will be ideal," he said.

"It was a good learning before the experience, a good preparation, though, conditions will be different (in the sub-continent)," the India skipper said.

India were reeling at 119 for eight when Robin Petersen dismissed Piyush Chawla but staged a dramatic recovery through Yusuf Pathan's belligerent century and his 100-run partnership with Zaheer Khan.

"Any target is small if he gets going," Dhoni said of the marauder.

He also thanked the crowd in South Africa for turning up in large numbers.

"It's been spectacular. They come out to support good cricket everything, during our last visit here, during the IPL," Dhoni said.

Dhoni's counterpart, Graeme Smith felt his bowlers bowled aggressively but admitted that Yusuf's innings gave him a scare.

"We played good games. We bowled really aggressively in the first part, but Yusuf then middled a few and almost took it away, but we held on. We learnt some important lessons," Smith said.

"We weren't as aggressive as we wanted to be when Yusuf and Zaheer were going, but otherwise we were pretty good."

Asked about the World Cup, he said, "We have got a good attacking mindset and have a really good chance to win the World Cup. We want to go in a with a mindset that we have the capabilities to win the tournament."

About the interruption Smith said, "the rain came at a funny time for us."

Smith was happy to have played his last match as the ODI skipper on South African soil at the SuperSport Park.

"It's a beautiful ground, terrific to sign off with the series," he said.

The victorious skipper also praised the Indian team, especially Dhoni, and thanked the crowd.

"Congratulations to MS and the Indian team," Smith said. Man of the match Hashim Amla felt the pitch was a bit difficult to bat on initially.

"The wicket was a bit challenging upfront but then Morne and I got together.

"Glad that I contributed handsomely in winning the game, in an extremely tight series," Amla said.

Morne Morkel, who picked up 12 wickets, was declared the Man of the Series.

"I was always been aggressive, Today, I missed my areas here and there, but I am happy.

"Things came together for me in Durban, and since then the rhythm has been great," Morkel said.

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