What was Dhoni doing? Wonders Hoggard

Published: Thursday, March 23, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London:Still mystified by the speed of India's batting collapse in the Mumbai Test, Matthew Hoggard wants to know the logic behind Mahendra Singh Dhoni's shot off Shaun Udal, which gave Monty Panesar a chance to redeem himself of dropping the Indian wicketkeeper three balls earlier.

''They (India) seemed intent on going down with all guns blazing.

For example, what on earth was Mahendra Dhoni doing? Answers on a postcard, please, because we still havent figured it out,'' Hoggard wrote in The Times.

Hoggard said it would take some time before the tourists come to terms with their unexpected victory. The feeling is still to sink in despite the fact that the presentation ceremony is long over.

''Well, who would have thought it? One match down with one to play against India, half of our team are missing and at lunchtime on the last day we have taken only three of their second-innings wickets. And then, all of a sudden, just 15 overs later, I find myself taking the catch that gave us Indias last wicket and enabled us to square the series,'' he recalled.

''It seemed to take a hell of a long time to come down, that catch, but I havent taken many that have felt as good. What an extraordinary day.'' Hoggard said the victory might not be as sweet as the Ashes but still means a lot for the team, which was written off even before the series started owing to a spate of injuries which forced nearly half of the regular team to back out.

''To have drawn a series in India after losing so many players and going 1-0 down has been a massive achievement. Its not quite up there with the Ashes victory last summer, but its not far off,'' he said.

The seamer said that his team was prepared for a tough time after lunch on the last day in Mumbai but the way Indians batted, the Englishmen were spared of the hard work.

''We knew that there was the likelihood of one or two (Indian) partnerships developing, but if we kept patient, we knew we were in with a chance. As it turned out, we didnt have to be patient at all,'' Hoggard wrote.

Rahul Dravid, who is being criticised by one and all for opting to bowl first after winning the toss, got a word of sympathy from Hoggard. He said the Indian skipper's decision was not such a big mistake after all.

''Rahuls decision was not as bad as all that because there was definitely something in the wicket on that first day. We would have batted first if we had won the toss, but I wouldnt have been too disappointed if wed been bowling,'' he said.

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