London: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni today termed the 95-run win over England, their first Test victory at the historic Lord’s in nearly three decades, a “memorable” one and said the visitors had learnt from their disastrous 2011 tour.
India rode on Ishant Sharma’s inspired spell of fast bowling to demolish England by 95 runs and take a 1-0 lead in the five-match Test series here.
“It was a memorable win for us because not many players have played Test cricket in England. But their approach was brilliant, it was a fantastic performance,” Dhoni said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
“I think we learnt from the 2011 series that it is important to stay in the game till the third day, because then our spinners come into the game. That was something that was needed, but we couldn’t do it in 2011,” he said.
India last won a Test match at the ‘Home of Cricket’ 28 years back when ‘Kapil Dev’s team achieved the feat back in June 1986 winning by five wickets.
Dhoni heaped praise on his batting department for their gritty display, especially on the first day of the Test on a lively Lord’s pitch.
“It was a crucial toss because there was something for the fast bowlers. I think the openers and No. 3 batsmen made the England bowlers bowl to them, you want the opposition to bowl more than 90 overs. Overall the batting department is really doing well, the tailenders are also contributing,” he said.
The India skipper had special praise for all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and lanky speedster Ishant, who grabbed a career-best seven for 74, to bowl out England for 223 in pursuit of a competitive victory target of 319.
“Jadeja has to play that kind of game. I think the more Test cricket he plays, the more he will become a proper Test batsman. I think his technique is very good, but he is someone who doubts himself more than most. I think we have been cribbing about the lack of quick bowling all-rounder, but we have to use the resources we have,” Dhoni said about Jadeja.
“That last over before lunch, Ishant didn’t want to bowl short, I just told him he has to and turned away. It was a fantastic performance,” he added.
Ishant, who was declared Man of the Match for his match-winning bowling spell in the second innings, said all his wickets belonged to Dhoni as it was the willy skipper who inspired him to bowl short today.
“Cricket is a great leveller, the way MS (Dhoni) bhai handled the team, the way he keeps on motivating the guys. I think all these wickets are not for me, it is only for the captain. He told me you are tall enough, you have to try the bouncer,” Ishant said.
He also had words of appreciation for the batting department.
“The way our batsmen played in the first innings was commendable. Ajinkya played really well in the first innings. That gave us the momentum. Also the way (Murali) Vijay, Jaddu (Jadeja) and Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) played,” Ishant said.
Meanwhile, under-fire home team skipper Alastair Cook said he was trying hard to get England back to winning ways and said he will take a call on whether to relinquish captaincy only after the end of the summer.
Cook said he has to lead by example to get England back on track and the only way of doing this was by scoring runs himself.
“I’m trying my heart out to turn this around. First and foremost, I have to start scoring runs. The recent past hasn’t been kind to me, but I have won some games as captain as well,” he said.
“If I am not good enough after the end of summer I will take a call,” an emotional Cook said.
Asked about the reason behind England’s prolonged lean patch, Cook said: “Definitely it’s an issue of confidence, and getting over the finish line.
“There is a group of player desperate to win for England. But it will take a lot of determination to turn this around,” he said.
“A lot of our performances have been by the younger guys, that’s good for English cricket. Yes, the older guys are not playing as well as their record suggest, same for myself, I have to start scoring runs as well.”
Terming it as a “tough defeat”, Cook said India outplayed them in the match.
“It’s a tough defeat, I think we have to give India a lot of credit, they have outbowled and outbatted us.”