Dhoni blames batsmen for Sydney surrender

Sydney: A downcast Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni today blamed his team`s shambolic first-session batting collapse and the monumental triple century by his Australian counterpart Michael Clarke for the humiliating innings and 68 runs defeat in the second Test here.

India found themselves buried under the weight of Australia`s 659/4 declared after themselves collapsing to 191 in the first innings. Ultimately, the team lost by an innings and 68 runs on the fourth day itself to be down 0-2 in the four-match series.

The defeat today was also India`s sixth consecutive Test defeat on foreign soil. "We were down in the first session on the first day. A few batsman got out to good deliveries and after that Clarke and (Ricky) Ponting batted really well. They built a great partnership," Dhoni said at the post-match presentation.

"It was a good track to bat on. Clarke played brilliantly. He got the pace of the wicket. It was difficult to contain him and he was well supported by Ponting and (Michael) Hussey," he added.

Dhoni, however, remained optimistic of a turnaround in the third Test starting January 13 at Perth. "Of course we can win there. It`s not about what kind of start we have got, we will look to win in Perth," said Dhoni.

Clarke, also Man of the Match for his unbeaten triple hundred, was expectedly ecstatic after playing such a crucial role in guiding his team to victory. "That`s a great win on a really flat wicket," declared the 30-year-old Aussie captain. In his moment of glory, Clarke chose to laud his bowlers for taking 20 Indian wickets on a pitch that was easy to bat on.

"It was a tough wicket to take 10 wickets but our bowlers were brilliant. I`ve spoken about consistency and our guys are doing that now," said Clarke. Clarke said the discipline in the squad has improved and it is making a lot of difference to the overall performance.

"Our discipline has improved. We have got the talent. The consistency is getting better as well," he said. Clark was also all praise for his senior teammates Ponting and Hussey, both of whom aided his knock with centuries of their own.

"Hussey and Punter have done a good job for the past few months. Probably not as consistently but they have been good. In any team you need experience and youth and I think now this Australian team has it," he said.

Clarke singled out his predecessor Ponting for the role he played in the match. "His attitude around the group has been exceptional," he explained.

As if the triple century was not enough, Clarke was quite a handful with the ball as well as he dismissed Sachin Tendulkar (80), stopping the Indian icon from getting to his elusive 100th international century. "Sachin`s wicket is a very handy one to have," he laughed.