Mahendra Singh Dhoni hints at quitting captaincy after yet another overseas debacle

Zee Media Bureau/Dattaraj Thaly

New Delhi: India`s recent saga of spineless performances touched a new low as they crashed to a humiliating innings and 244 runs defeat well inside three days in the fifth and final cricket Test against England, who clinched the series with a 3-1 margin, here on Sunday.

It was yet another abject surrender by the batsman, who were shot out for 94 in just 29.2 overs as they continued their embarrassing display succumbing to their heaviest Test defeat in 40 years.

Speaking at the post match presentation, India`s captain did not hesitate to state the Indian batsmen lost confidence as the series progressed and that the contribution of the lower order camouflaged the failings of the top order in the first two Tests.

The skipper has suggested the lack of experience in playing in English conditions as another major reason for such an abject display from the tourists.

MS Dhoni hailed the England bowlers for sticking to good line and length and keeping the Indian batsmen under constant pressure throughout the series.

He was also upbeat about the upcoming ODI and T20 matches and said the team must put the Test series defeat behind them.

"The top-order felt the pressure of not scoring, that's what you have to do in Test cricket, absorb pressure. A bit more application from the batsmen and it would have been better," Dhoni said after India lost the fifth Test by an innings and 244 runs.

"Right from the start, our batsmen never really performed, the lower order helped out. That camouflaged the performance of the top order, just scoring 150-60 runs will not be enough to defend against the home team," he added.

Asked about the English conditions, Dhoni said, "It's demanding but the wickets were good, nice pace and bounce. In the overcast conditions the fast bowlers get swing and the English bowlers were very consistent."

The Indian captain though hoped that his young players will take their lessons from the series and play better when they come to England next time.

"We've lost a lot of confidence over the five-Test series. It is disappointing, there will be many experiences which the youngsters will learn - not too many have played Tests away from home and hopefully they can take that it into the future. "

Dhoni said there was nothing he could have done differently to make things better for his side.

"We did everything we could have done. If we went it with Rohit (Sharma), the difficulty was who to leave out. Ajinkya Rahane had scored a hundred at Lord's. Pujara bats at numnber three, Virat at four and then myself. Whatever we could have done, we tried," he said.

Dhoni said not having the experience of playing in England was a factor in his young side's dismal show.

A five-Test series was very demanding, you could see with Bhuvneshwar, the effects on him but we couldn't replace him. Our playing XI didn't have many Tests, so we are lacking experience but until they play international cricket, they won't get that. It's important to play here, learn lessons and come back strong," he said.

England captain Alastair Cook was delighted with the turnaround in the series as they came back from Lord's defeat to win three matches in a row.

"It was an amazing performance, to win like we've won after what happened at Lord's, the players, the staff can take an enormous amount of credit. All summer, before we won at Southampton, we played good cricket in patches and then let it go after an hour or so," he said.

"To maintain pressure like we did in the last few games was impressive. When you score runs, with our bowling attack in these conditions, it's hard for the opposition," Cook added.

England batsman Joe Root, who scored a magnificent unbeaten 149, was adjudged Man of the Match.
"It's always nice to score runs and you want to score as many as you can, but to finish like we did today was really pleasing. We've had to show a lot of character since Lord's and dig deep," Root said.

"I enjoy batting at five, it's nice to score runs and win again. I think I got into a place where I was just looking to survive but I'm trying to put pressure on the bowlers again."

Fast bowler James Anderson was named England's Man of the Series. Anderson took 25 wickets and he was nominated by India coach Duncan Fletcher.

"We've fought back really well, there's been some good performances through the series. I think I'm in a good place with the ball, I think the way all four seamers have bowled in the last few Test has been hugely impressive. We wanted the nicks to carry, after the first couple of games. When you feel like you have an edge over a batsman, it does help as a bowler," he said.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who took 19 wickets and scored three half-centuries, was India's Man of the Series. He was nominated by England coach Peter Moores.

"It's tough but we have to look forward to the next series. We were hoping to win the series but in a five-match series it is hard to maintain your performances. The body is a bit tired but it was a good experience, playing in England, it was a great experience and I hope I do well in future. Bowlers want to bowl well here, trying to focus on line and length and I'm pleased I had success."

Dhoni gave an open-ended reply to a query if he is ready to quit captaincy after another Test debacle on foreign soil. To a question that if he is contemplating resignation, he replied,"You will have to wait and watch to find out whether I am strong enough to cope with this loss or not.

But has he done enough as India's Test captain, Dhoni gave a curt one-line reply, "May be, yes."

With agency inputs

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