Kingston: India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni saluted his lower order batsmen for bailing out the side from tough situations and shaping team''s 63-run win over the West Indies in the first cricket Test here.

Harbhajan Singh and Suresh Raina had shared a 146-run seventh-wicket stand in the first innings after India had slipped to 85 for six and then in the second innings Amit Mishra combined with Rahul Dravid to put on 56 runs for the ninth wicket to help stretch the lead beyond 300 runs.

"Our lower half batsmen for the past year and a half have been contributing well. We were 85 for 6 in the first innings before Harbhajan, along with Suresh Raina, bailed us out. In the second innings, Mishra made a telling contribution," Dhoni said.

"But for that stand (Raina and Harbhajan), we could have been all out for 150. We were able to get more runs and thus gather a handy lead. Then in the second innings, we could stretch the lead to 300 plus," he added.

Dhoni also offered a wholesome appreciation to the veteran batsman Dravid, who scored 112 in the second innings, and paceman Praveen Kumar, who took six wickets on debut.

"Dravid has been an exceptional batsman. That he played over 250 deliveries showed he was very patient. He made the bowlers pitch in his areas and was brilliant.

"Praveen is a very skillful bowler and can swing it either way. He doesn''t have the pace but he can swing the ball and confuse the batsmen if they needed to play or leave a delivery. He showed great character after having been stopped from bowling in the first innings.

"When you are switching from 10-over format to 20-25 overs in an innings, you have to be careful. Importantly, he backed his strength and picked up wickets in the second innings as well."

(Agencies)