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Winning Tests is all about winning sessions: Dhoni

Thursday, September 30, 2021

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said doing well in sessions, particularly on the last two days of a Test match, is key to winning the series as the hosts gear up for the tough assessment against Australia.

"The solution is simple. If you can't hook or pull, it's better you leave the bouncers alone".  © AFP

The two-match series will begin on Friday even as the outcome of the rubber will not have any bearing on India's number one rank in Test cricket.

"Test cricket is about doing well in sessions. The team that wins more sessions in the last couple of days when the ball turns and bounces and there is reverse swing.. it becomes becomes deciding factor," Dhoni told reporters on the eve if the match at the PCA stadium.

Stressing that it is important to get early breakthroughs, the skipper is expecting that Zaheer Khans and Ishant Sharmas will make early inroad into rival line-up.

Dhoni though is still not sure how the strip will behave. "It looks that when the pacers will bowl, the ball might just skid on to the batsman," he assessed.

The captain was also curt in his reply when asked how will Indians cope against the barrage of short balls that Australians will fire at them as Indians are not known for puling and hooking well.

"The solution is simple. If you can't hook or pull, it's better you leave those deliveries," was his reply.

He though refused to believe that the series will be a battle between him and rival skipper Ricky Ponting.

"I don't believe that it's a captain versus captain battle. The reason that India have done well against Australia in the recent times is due to the fact that we played well as a team.

"Agreed that as a captain, you take a few important decisions but it's the batsman and the bowlers who win you matches," the Indian captain said.

Dhoni termed Australia as an aggressive unit who will try to get a result out of the two-Test series.

"They are a competitive unit. But over the years, we have played a lot against the Australians. The boys know exactly what to expect. Normally, the strategy is decided after analysing the conditions. However, the basic strategy remains same," he said.

Someone who hasn't been a firm believer in ICC rankings, Dhoni reiterated that it is team's performance which is of paramount importance.

"Rankings are not everything. The process of preparation and execution of plans are far more important. Also you need to do your basics right. I believe that if you do most things correctly, rankings will take care of itself."

Dhoni said it won't be a problem playing against Michael Hussey and Doug Bollinger, whom he led during Chennai Super Kings' campaign at the Champions League Twenty20.

"The friendship remains off the pitch. You do not have to be rude or rough on the field. They are nice guys and we really gelled well while playing in the IPL. They are tough opponents but characters I am fond of," he said.