Team India slammed for playing it safe

New Delhi: Indian media on Tuesday lashed out at skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni for not going for the kill in the third and final Test against the West Indies, which ended in a tame draw.

Chasing 180 for victory, India were 94/3 when they decided to bring the match to a close with a possible 15 overs left to play on Sunday, the last day of the inaugural Test at Windsor Park.

"At least an effort from Dhoni`s men – especially given the Twenty20 era in which these batsmen continue to prosper – would have been worthwhile, but certainly not a lame draw," said the Times of India.

"Dhoni, though, is yet to lose a series in 25 Tests as captain. However, a bit of aggression would have added a few more stars to his captaincy credits."

The Hindustan Times said there was "disbelief and shock" in the end as the world number one Test team decided not to attempt the run-a-ball chase.

"The euphoria of Dhoni leading a depleted team to India`s second series win in a row in the West Indies vanished as debate raged on why India were timid," said the paper.

"But it was astounding to see no attempt being made to get closer to the target when it would have been brilliant to make a statement, or at least send the right message."

India needed 86 more runs in the last 15 overs with seven wickets in hand before settling for a draw and a 1-0 series win.

"It was surprising why India did not, at least, attempt to wrap up the series 2-0 when it had big hitters Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh left," said the Hindu newspaper.

"Dominant teams play to win and are ruthless when they have the adversary down. India did not display the heart of the world number one in Tests."

Even West Indies skipper Darren Sammy said he was surprised by India`s decision.

"I think if 15 overs were left and 86 to get and the calibre of players they have, Dhoni and the other guys who can hit the ball, I thought they would give it a go, being 1-0 up (in the series)," he said after the match.

Dhoni and coach Duncan Fletcher, however, defended the decision.

"I am not disappointed about stopping the run chase. We were risking a series win going after the target. We realised that it was not worth going for it after those wickets," said Dhoni.

"We gave it a go, but we are happy with the series win."

Fletcher said it was not easy scoring runs on a difficult pitch.

"You think we haven`t made a statement. We have won the T20, ODI and Test series. That in itself is a statement," said Fletcher.

India now tour England for a four-Test series, starting at Lord`s on July 21.