Durban - Following a narrow 1-0 Test series loss to the top-ranked Proteas side, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni says his side has a recipe for success.
India outplayed South Africa for much of the ten days of the two-Test series, but South Africa out-performed the tourists when it counted most - on day five of both encounters.
“I think the more Test matches you play, the more experience you get,” Dhoni said after his side's batting collapse and 10-wicket defeat to South Africa in Durban on Monday.
“Overall you talk about making some kind of recipe with ingredients. All the ingredients are there in this team but in this series we didn’t cook the food well.
“Apart from that, we have got fantastic ingredients and just have to make sure we are cooking the right way.”
The first Test at the Wanderers was drawn, after South Africa fell eight runs short of a world record 458 for victory. India would have expected a win on the Highveld on the last day, when they were in a commanding position.
In contrast, the visitors would have been aiming to scrape out a draw on the final day in Durban. On both occasions it was the vastly experienced Proteas who came out on top.
Coming into the series, their top-six in the batting line-up had played just 59 Tests between them, and it was an inexperienced Indian side which managed to be competitive against South Africa on their home turf.
“Overall our 15 to 17 member squad looked good. The batting looked good, and the bowlers worked hard," Dhoni said.
“When something was on offer, in Johannesburg, they were able to get the opposition out. It was good exposure for most of the batsmen and bowlers who were touring for the first time.”
On day five, India lost five wickets in the morning session to hand South Africa the advantage in Durban. Losing eight wickets in one-and-a-half sessions left the Proteas a meagre 58-run target to clinch the Test and the series 1-0.
“In the morning session today we lost too many wickets. A few decisions didn’t go our away and a couple of deliveries were good.
“At the same time, a few dismissals were soft dismissals. We could not afford that where the game was positioned at that time.”
Overall, Dhoni said he was pleased with the batting and, with more experience, his side would be able to pull through for the win under similar circumstances in the future.
“We performed really well. There were couple sessions where we played badly and that had an impact on both the Test matches.
“It was a fantastic performance, but yes we could have done better.”