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Dec 29, 2011 at 06:23pm IST

Dhoni defends batsmen, lauds Aus pacers

Melbourne: India's formidable batting line-up crumbled twice, but skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said he is not worried, instead choosing to give credit to Australia's fast bowlers for eking out the 122-run win in the first Test in Melbourne on Thursday.

Indian bowlers did well to restrict the hosts to 240 in the second innings but the visitors put up a pathetic show while chasing 292 and were bowled out for a paltry 169 to concede a 1-0 lead in the four-match series.

Asked if he is worried about his batsmen, Dhoni said, "Not really. They are very experienced batsmen. You have to give credit to Australia bowlers for the way they bowled. They kept a nagging line outside the off-stump and that's why they got us."

Dhoni defends batsmen, lauds Aussie pacers

Ben Hilfenhaus celebrates with teammates after the wicket of Virat Kohli during the fourth day's play at the MCG. (Getty Images)

Dhoni, though, conceded that India's big-name batsmen had flopped as his team came up well short in their run chase to comprehensively lose the opening Test. Sachin Tendulkar was India's topscorer with 73 in the first innings and just 32 in the second.

Dhoni said the tourists had to show more consistency to get back into the series.

"Our batting flopped in both the innings. We have to show more consistency," Dhoni said after the defeat. "We need to score more runs. Otherwise, it would be very difficult for us to win. We need to apply ourselves a lot more and if we do that, I have no doubt that we would come back strongly."

Dhoni also lauded Australia's lower-order batsmen for making significant contributions to their total in both the innings. "Bowlers brought us back in to the game. We were short by 50-odd runs in the first innings. Their lower-order scored some runs, if we had got them earlier, we would have had 50-60 runs less to chase," he said.

Dhoni also seemed optimistic about making a comeback in the series when the second Test starts in Sydney from January 3. "We are known to be tentative starters, I think in the next game we will be slightly better."

Victorious Australia captain Michael Clarke, meanwhile, acknowledged the contribution made by his pace trio, experienced duo of Mike Hussey and Ricky Ponting and the lower-order batsmen.

"Our tail were outstanding with their batting, and we have to give full credit to the bowlers. You always want to have plans against whatever team you play and we were able to execute the plans."

"Credit has to go to Ponting and Hussey as well. India are a fantastic team. It is great to have them here in Australia. We know they'll come hard at us in Sydney," Clarke said.

Australia paceman James Pattinson was adjudged Man-of-the-Match for taking six wickets in the match, including four in the second Indian innings.

"It's a pretty surreal feeling right now. We were coming off a bit of pressure after losing in Hobart to New Zealand."

"It is fantastic to win here at the MCG. Victorian supporters are the best in the business. (Peter) Siddle is fantastic, he keeps everyone in the side going," Pattinson said.

Meanwhile, former India captain Sourav Ganguly, who is here as a commentator, said that he was concerned by India's five consecutive defeats abroad.

"I am a little concerned that India have now lost 5 consecutive Tests abroad. They lost four in England and now they have lost here. It is something that needs to be looked into and I am sure the team management will analyze what went wrong here," he said after the match.

"India has an experienced batting line-up and they can comeback into the series. But they really have to pull up their socks," Ganguly added.

India have yet to win a series in Australia after nine previous tours over 64 years.

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