Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Thursday credited his bowlers for the victory against South Africa in the second Test, lauding their “huge effort” in the absence of spearhead Zaheer Khan.
Dhoni said the pitch was still a playing one on the fifth day and bowlers Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra and Ishant Sharma had to outsmart the South Africa batsmen.
Zaheer did not take the field on Thursday and bowled only six overs in the second innings as he pulled a muscle in his leg Wednesday.
“We lost Zaheer and it was a huge effort by the three bowlers, the way they rotated themselves and kept their focus,” Dhoni said after India defeated South Africa by an innings and 57 runs to level the series 1-1 and retain the world’s No.1 Test spot.
“There was not much for the spinners in the first innings. It was good to see them bowl out South Africa from a strong position. After the retirement of Anil Kumble, there is a lot of pressure on Harbhajan,” Dhoni said. “Everytime he turns out, he is expected to take five wickets.
“Ishant is also getting his rhtyhm back. He is bowling quick and pitching in the right areas. Amit Mishra also bowled well.”
It was Harbhajan who began South Africa’s slide on the first day with three wickets that saw the visitots lose seven wickets in the last session.
“There was nothing in the wicket for the bowlers on the first day and it was fantastic the way Harbhajan, Amit Mishra and others bowled. It was then important for the batsmen to score a big total after that and carry on the good work. And four of us got hundreds.”