India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Wednesday said barring Virender Sehwag his batting department was having a tough time in the ongoing cricket tri-series in Sri Lanka.
The Indians might have booked their place in Saturday's final against Sri Lanka after beating New Zealand by 105 runs in a must-win match on Wednesday, but Dhoni seemed concerned about his side's batting line-up, which yet again failed.
Sehwag top-scored for India with a 93-ball 110 to and Dhoni said apart from the dashing opener none of his batsman have got their footing right in the lively Rangagiri Dambulla wicket.
"He (Sehwag) is the only batsman who seems to be middling the ball. But besides him, the whole team is struggling," Dhoni told reporters. "It was really good to bat with him (Sehwag). Sehwag has always done well in crucial situation. In the previous game too he scored 99 and this century was big too," he said.
Besides Sehwag, Dhoni (38) and Ravindra Jadeja (17) were the only two batsmen to reach double figures as the Indian middle order comprising Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli struggled once again, accumulating only 15 runs between them. Dhoni praised his bowlers for their continued impressive display in the series.
"The bowlers did a good job for us. Praveen (Kumar) is a swing bowler and so we give him the new ball. He has good control over his swing. Ashish (Nehra) is usually good. Munaf also did a good job today," Dhoni said. Sehwag, however, did not blame the youngsters and said even he took some innings to settle down early in his career.
"We can't blame the young batsman for fishing outside the off stump. Everybody is tempted to play shots. Even I took a few innings to settle down in my career," he said.
Electing to bat, India were all out for 223 and the bowlers backed them superbly as they shot out the Kiwis for 118 in 30.1 overs to take the Dhoni's men to the finals. Man-of-the-match Sehwag, said he was disappointed to get out after doing all the hard work.
"Today was a much better wicket to bat on. I felt really disappointed when I got out because I could have taken us through to 270 or more. It is pleasing if centuries lead to victories," he said.
"I was feeling pain in my back and wanted to take the help of the phsyio. The umpires asked me if I can wait for an over but I got out," he added. Sehwag said Saturday's final would be a good match and hoped India would do well.
"India always does well in do or die situation. We performed badly against Sri Lanka and it is now our turn to do well in the finals. I'm looking forward to the Sri Lanka match," he said.
His New Zealand counterpart Ross Taylor admitted that they were completely outplayed by the Indians.
"The way Sehwag batted, it took the game away from us. The way they bowled, they bowled full and straight, they made us make tough decisions," he said.
"Praveen Kumar was special. The ball has been swinging all through the tournament. For us now it is back to the drawing board," he added.
There was some confusion in the middle with the batting Powerplay and when asked about the incident, Dhoni said there was a miscommunication as Kyle Mills had not informed the umpires about the powerplay.
"Mills told me he is taking Powerplay, and I arranged my field accordingly, and forgot to look at the umpire. When we asked in the fith over, how many overs left, the umpires said the Powerplay is not even on. But Mills stood by his word, and it was sorted out," he said.