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We lost the plot in first two days: Dhoni

Nottingham: Handed out a humiliating 319-run defeat by England in the second cricket Test, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni admitted that the visitors failed to turn the tables on the home team when they were reeling at 124 for eight in their first innings on the opening day of the match.

Dhoni also said that the Indian batsmen failed to capitalise on the good foundation provided in the first innings by Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh.

Dravid scored 117 while Yuvraj made 62 in the first essay to take India to a strong position at 264 four before Stuart Broad claimed a hat-trick as England bowled out the visitors for 288.

"Those 100 runs by England on the first day really mattered and when we came to bat, we were four down but couldn`t see that second new ball through," Dhoni said after match.

"Bowlers tried everything but it was a bad day for us and nothing went our way," added the skipper after India crashed to one of their heaviest defeats in terms of runs in the lop-sided second Test.

Incidentally, India were in complete control of the proceedings on the first day by reducing England to 124 for eight before Broad scored a gutsy 64 to take the hosts to a respectable 221.

If that was not enough, the visitors once again lost the plot when it failed to build on a substantiate lead in the first innings.

Dhoni also blamed the team`s poor run in the series on fatigue and said the players did not get much time to rest after the West Indies tour.

"It (this series) is a continuation of the West Indies tour and we haven`t really had a gap. I felt the bowlers were tired and it paid off well for them (England)."

Dhoni also felt concerned about India`s unability to put big scores on the board in the concluded West Indies series and the ongoing tour of England.

"It`s a bit of concern that we haven`t made 300 plus scores. It`s the area where we are struggling. There (in the West Indies) also we were not able to put up big scores on the board.”

"You want to perform especially if you are known for batting. Bowlers are doing the job for us, just we need to put some runs on the board," he said.

India were also dealt a blow in the series by injuries to some key players like, Zaheer Khan and regular opening duo of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir.

"Right now Zaheer is out there practicing but I don`t really know where he is. Injuries happen in the game but when you go down to three bowlers it`s hard work on the bowlers. All our part timers are spinners," Dhoni said.

"About Sehwag, he is landing here tomorrow. We will see how he goes in the practice match. I got no official word on him but hopefully he can come and give the kind of strength that is needed right now. You can call it a re-inforcement but we all know what Sehwag is capable of," said the Indian skipper.

About his own poor form, Dhoni said, "My form is a concern because if you are the leader you need to perform. But you have to look at your preparation and if that is right and the processes are right, the form will follow."

Asked about the Ian Bell controversy, Dhoni said, "Inside I felt none of us felt right about it (run out of Bell). That`s what really matters, not the rules, not the spirit of the game. You want to feel good about what you`ve done when you go back to the dressing room."

"We had something similar with Laxman in the West Indies and didn`t want to be in revenge for that or anything," he added.

England have now become serious contenders for the world number one tag by taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series but Dhoni sounded optimistic of a turnaround.

"Well of course we can turn it around. You have to have belief in yourself and the team."

England skipper Andrew Strauss, meanwhile, credited his bowlers for inspiring the batsmen to perform in the first two Tests.

"There have been some outstanding performances in the two Test matches. It was a fantastic turnaround and I`m very proud on what we`ve done this week," Strauss said.

Strauss paid tribute to a string of superb individual performances, especially by Tim Bresnan and Ian Bell.

Bresnan, who struck a valuable 90 with the bat in the second innings, turned out to be the wrecker-in-chief for England with figures of five for 48, while Bell struck a well-commanded 159 in England`s mammoth 544 runs.

"Bresnan was unlucky not to be playing in the first Test match and he keeps putting his credentials in place making it harder and harder," Strauss said.

"Bell was outstanding. To score that freely in tough conditions was outstanding. He`s in the form of his life. He is getting better and better," said a beaming Strauss.

Asked about Dhoni`s sporting gesture to withdraw the run out decision against Bell, Strauss said, "It was very commendable of Dhoni, he has set a great example to myself and other captains.

Man-of-the-match Stuart Broad, on his home ground at Trent Bridge, took hat-trick in the first-innings en route to match figures of eight for 76. He also made vital contributions with the bat, scoring 64 and 44 respectively.

"We`re delighted to go 2-0 up. It`s pleasing to pick up some wickets as they were harder to come by earlier in the season. Me and Swanny (Graeme Swann) never need encouragement to have a bit of a slog.”

"Of course I`ve now found a fuller length and it`s paid off but I tend not to look back and worry. We have a lot of depth and confidence in our unit," he said.

PTI

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