CHENNAI, Dec 30: Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni rued the absence of a fifth bowler and said his part-timers struggled on a sheepish wicket as the hosts lost to Pakistan by six wickets in the first One-day International at the Chepauk here on Sunday.

Dhoni, who was adjudged Man-of-the-Match for his unbeaten 113, said it was difficult to make a comeback into the game after India lost their first five wickets for just 29 runs.

“It was a bad toss to lose, but I am happy with my batting. There was something for the fast bowlers, but they also pitched it in the right areas. Once we lost five wickets, it was difficult to come back,” Dhoni said. “We delayed the slog to get to a respectable score — 227 was a good score from where we were, but not enough in the end. The wicket got better later and our part-timers struggled.”

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq was all praise for his left-arm pacer, Junaid Khan, who ended with figures of four for 43.

Junaid accounted for four of the top five batsmen, castling Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh.

“It was really a good toss to win and the spell by Junaid Khan was very good. He has done it before in a Test match in Sri Lanka. Good to see that the bowlers pitched in the right areas in helping conditions. There was a change in the nature of the pitch. It was more difficult to play in the first half, very well played by Dhoni,” said Misbah.

Misbah also took the opportunity to praise his opener, Nasir Jamshed, who smashed an unbeaten 101, taking Pakistan to victory with 11 balls to spare.

“Nasir played an extremely good knock and showed the way by finishing the game. Humidity was a factor as both teams found it hard. Credit must be given to both teams’ fast bowlers for bowling in such conditions,” he said.—Agencies

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