Durban: Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni lauded his bowlers for making a splendid comeback in their 87-run win at Durban after being sent for a leatherhunt during the first Test match at the Centurion. The skipper had special words of praise for pace spearhead Zaheer Khan.
"After the first Test, we came back nicely as far as batting was concerned, but we were a bit concerned about our ability to take 20 wickets. Very happy to see the bowlers bounce back here," the Indian captain said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
About Zaheer`s performance (six wickets in the match), the skipper said, "I have always maintained that Zaheer has been the best fast bowler that India have had in recent times. He has the ability to execute his plans well. Even if his primary plan doesn`t work out, he has a Plan B ready. Also him being around, even the other bowlers get a lot of help."
The captain also had words of praise for his senior-most bowler Harbhajan Singh.
"Harbhajan has been a great performer for India over last 10 years. It`s always great to have him in the side. He did a great job as he bowled long spells from one end as the fast bowlers weren`t getting much help from that end."
For someone who hasn`t exactly been lucky with the coin, Dhoni smiled and said, "It is very predictable for me to lose the toss."
"The wicket didn`t misbehave on the first day as we thought it would before the match. I felt that 200-odd was a decent score. After we got 70 plus lead, I was confident of doing well. Obviously we need to improve on our second innings batting. We would like to improve further and win the Test match at Cape Town."
When asked about the New Year Plans, Dhoni said, "We have a day off tomorrow and we can shop a lot. We will party in the night but not get drunk."
Dhoni`s South African counterpart Graeme Smith was graceful in admitting that the visitors really played well.
"India have played really well. It has been a very good Test. We fought hard, but couldn`t get across the line. We didn`t bat well after a long time. Our batsmen have let us down. We have some work to do before Cape Town. It`s disappointing not to chase down the target today," Smith said.
The South African captain admitted that Indians kept up the pressure and credit should be given to Dhoni and his boys.
"India kept up the pressure, and credit to Dhoni and his team for bouncing back. They are No. 1 in the world. We have to see how we can bounce back now."
VVS Laxman feels that his 96 will be right up there among some of the memorable knocks that he has played over the years.
"I always take pride in what I do overseas. Beating South Africa in South Africa, that too in Durban, it is definitely up there. In Durban, you need to get adjusted to the bounce. I waited for that and got a good partnership with Zaheer," Laxman said.