Winning was of utmost importance: Dhoni

Ranchi, Jan 19 (IANS) India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said he was pleased with the performance of his team in the third One-Day International (ODI) against England and the seven-wicket victory over the visitors was of utmost importance at the JSCA International Stadium here Saturday.

India won the match to take a 2-1 lead in the five-match series with the next match to be played in Mohali Jan 23.

"It was of utmost importance to win this match. We did not let the opposition score too many runs which allowed us to have a comfortable chase. The wicket wasn't exactly flat and the pacers had a bit of help as the ball was nipping around a bit. We did not get too many wickets at the start but we restricted them," said Dhoni, who inaugurated the stadium Friday along with Jharkhand governor Syed Ahmed.

"Gautam (Gambhir) and Yuvraj (Singh) played well. Both their innings' were very important. Our new ball bowlers Bhuvneshwar (Kumar) and Shami (Ahmed) also performed really well. They have been consistent in the few matches they have played.

"Ishant (Sharma) is the most experienced pacer in our team and we keep him as the third bowler for that reason. Also, later he can generate good bounce because of his height. Overall I think this was a perfect performance," added Dhoni, who hit a boundary to seal the match.

"Virat (Kohli) played a superb innings. He has had a good patch. However, he did not score runs in the last 3-4 matches. The media sometimes rates that as being 'out of form' but I do not think that. When you are batting so well you have a few days when you don't perform."

"It was good to see how he placed his innings and how calculative he was, not being afraid to go for the big shots," said the India skipper.

Asked about his decision to come up the order at No.5, Dhoni said: "Suresh (Raina) was supposed to come in at No.5. He, however, asked me to go next and I agreed. Fortunately or unfortunately Yuvraj got out and I got a chance to get out in the middle," said Dhoni.

On being asked about Ravindra Jadeja's performance who again performed after being named the man of the match for his all round performance in the second ODI at Kochi, Dhoni said that Jadeja gives balance to the side.

"He gives us the balance and is perfect for the spot. He can bat a bit and can take on the opposition irrespective of a pacer or spinner. He just needs to play more games for experience. He is a good prospect for us," he signed off.

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