Rohit, Raina Played Well Today - Dhoni

Suresh Raina hits out as Rohit Sharma looks on
MS Dhoni praised the batting of both Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma
©REUTERS / Action Images
 

MS Dhoni paid tribute to the restorative and explosive batting of Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina during India's four-wicket defeat to Australia in the One-Day International tri-series in Melbourne.

Australia overcame their second middle-order collapse in three days to beat India, who, thanks to a Sharma hundred, were able to reach 267 for eight which the hosts chased down with one over to spare.

India were in trouble at 59 for three before a century-stand between Sharma (138) and Raina saved them. However, playing with only six batsmen meant that once the set batsmen, and Dhoni later, got out, the tail couldn’t score too many runs as Mitchell Starc continued his good run of form and took six for 43.

"If I see the performance in ODIs in the last one and a half years, almost all the batsmen have scored runs," Dhoni said.

"But it is good to see Rohit score consistently. He is someone who knows how to play big innings and he knows how to build on the starts.

"Initially he leaves the good deliveries out and then once he is set, more often than not, he scores big and we can rotate around him. He also scores at a very good pace, so overall it becomes slightly easy to build the innings," Dhoni added.

"The situation Suresh Raina went in to bat today, it was very crucial to get a partnership going. And he had to curb his instinct to some extent and play defensively initially and then he went on to play his shots.

"I think both of them played really well today," the skipper added, praising the left-hander’s role in the century stand with Sharma.

Even so, there were still question marks about the consistency of the Indian bowling and the way forward keeping an eye on the World Cup. They gave away too many runs early in the innings and after a great start given by David Warner and Aaron Finch, Australia never looked like losing the match.

"I think we gave a bit of width to the batsmen. We did bowl good deliveries, but in between there were quite a few loose deliveries that were bowled.

"Whenever you bowl short and wide, how you come back is you bowl really up, and then you come back to length. That’s how you come back to length. I think we were slightly shorter to start off with. We didn’t have a par-plus total,” Dhoni said.

"It’s important for the bowlers to keep in mind is what length they were looking to bowl, what were the areas they were looking to bowl because that’s something that will be very crucial in the coming months.

"I think we bowled very well in the last 10-12 overs. That’s something we will have to do more often than not on these wickets," he added.

Finch scored 96 runs on his home ground and guided the chase calmly before the mid-innings’ collapse meant that James Faulkner had to save the day once again for his side.

"India played some good cricket tonight. But we took some key wickets at key moments to restrict them to under-300 and it was a good bowling effort from us," Starc said.

"They pulled it back during the chase after we were 200-odd for two and they got on top of us. But it was a fantastic finish to the game and it is good to finish on the right side."

When asked about two middle-order collapses in two matches, he added, "Against England we were trying to get the bonus point, so we aren’t too worried about that.

"And when you have James Faulkner at the bottom doing the job for us, we don’t put too much pressure on us, especially today.

"We were in some bother and India are a good side but we pulled through. So it’s good for us."

Mitchell Johnson has been rested from the playing 11 keeping in mind the long summer schedule ahead. But he will be back sooner rather than later, particularly as Australia now wait until their next game in Hobart. India take on England in Brisbane on Tuesday, meanwhile.

"We all know our roles really well. When Mitchell Johnson is back, he will bowl fast and will be aggressive, so we are all trying to pick up the slack.

"It will be great to have him back but in his absence I like this role. It is great to take wickets while trying to bowl fast and doing my role for the team.

"When Mitch comes back at some point, our roles might change, some guys might miss out and some others might come in. In the meantime though I am taking it game by game," Starc signed off.

© Cricket World 2015