- India v England, 4th Test, Nagpur, 5th day
Dhoni: Anderson was the difference
MS Dhoni admitted that India were outplayed in most departments as they slumped to a 2-1 series defeat against England, their first series loss on home soil since 2004.
England comfortably batted out the final day in Nagpur as India managed just one more wicket, with the home side's ambitions of levelling the series hindered by a lifeless pitch.
However, over the previous two Tests in Mumbai and Kolkata there had been considerable daylight between the teams and Dhoni picked out James Anderson's role and India's lack of runs for special mention.
"We thought our spinners were right on the mark but the difference on the bowling side was James Anderson," he said at the post-match presentation.
"He bowled really well. The other fast bowlers in the series looked quite average but he was testing the batsmen. Apart from that the batsmen have to take the responsibility for not putting enough runs on the board."
Dhoni pinpointed England's ability to win key sessions, such as the third evening in Mumbai and fourth afternoon in Kolkata, when India twice suffered collapses.
"It happens if you are playing on tracks that turn from the first day," he said. "You have to be at your best because if you make a few mistakes you will have to face a bit of extra pressure. It is sessions like those that really matter because in a four-Test series it can be those two sessions, or four hours, that really change the course of the Test match."
India made a good start to the final Test, reducing England to 139 for 5 on the first afternoon, but it was already clear that the pitch was dead. "As the game progressed we saw there wasn't much for fast bowlers or the spinners," Dhoni said.
"It was difficult to score runs but if you kept your head down it was difficult to get batsmen out. By the fifth day the wicket got better, the ball was coming on to the bat and batsmen could play their strokes. You would have needed three or four more days to get a result."
Despite the series loss, and a host of questions hanging over the home side, Dhoni insisted there were things India could take heart from over the last few weeks.
"[Cheteshwar] Pujara started off really well, another positive is [Virat] Kohli's batting and his attitude and [Gautam] Gambhir got back into runs. So there are quite a few positives. Of course we lost the series, but that always happens when two big sides are playing. But we have plenty of positives to look up to."