India defeated but not deflated
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The year-ending loss at Durban meant India had now lost their third successive overseas Test series. But even the harshest of critics will say that the defeat to South Africa was unlike the previous two 4-0 humiliations in England and Australia.
This young Indian team had shown that they were ready for a fight. That they were game to face adversity head-on and not back down. And it wasn't surprising to hear that skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni talk about how in his opinion, India had exceeded expectations.
"It was a fantastic performance but yes we could have done better. The batting looked good, bowlers worked hard. When the pitch offered something, like in Johannesburg, the pacers were able to get the opposition out. It was a great exposure for most of the batsmen and bowlers who were touring for the first time," he said. Like always, he also had his unique take on how his team had gone.
"With this side, all ingredients are there. This series we didn't cook the food well. But apart from that we have got fantastic ingredients just have to make sure we are cooking in the right way," he added. Dhoni wouldn't have been the only one to admit that India had exceeded expectations. They had after all gone into the Test series as virtual no-hoppers. Not many gave them a chance to get back up after the pummeling they took in the three ODIs.
Rain in Centurion had saved them the ignominy of a 3-0 whitewash after all. The batsmen had looked all at sea against the South African pace barrage while their bowlers had been taken to the cleaners repeatedly by a baby-faced assassin in Quinton de Kock. And as India slumped to 24/2 on the first morning at Wanderers after Dhoni had elected to bat first, the alarm bells were well and truly ringing.
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