Centurion, Jan 24 (IANS) After losing the closely-fought ODI series 2-3 to South Africa, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni Sunday said it was a "disappointing" performance by the batsmen throughout and called it a "big lesson" before the World Cup.
India lost the fifth and the last ODI by 33 runs, despite Yusuf Pathan smashing 105 off 70 balls as a last ditch effort and bringing India closer to the target of 268 runs.
"It was a disappointing series for the batsmen. The bowlers were getting the wickets, and then getting the runs too. We did not perform as a batting unit" Dhoni said.
"It was a good pitch, but we kept losing wickets. Most of us got out playing shots."
Asked whether he though India had a chance when Yusuf was batting, Dhoni said: "Yusuf can clear most cricket outfields in the world. The big learning from this game is to keep wickets in hand for the last 10 overs with a batting powerplay in hand and then we can cross any target no matter how much is the asking rate."
"This is a big lesson for the World Cup. Conditions at the World Cup will be very different, but the series gave us a chance to test youngsters as we were without some of our frontline batsmen.
Dhoni also praised the spectators for their support.
"Whenever we have come to South Africa, they have turned out in large numbers and supported us. They have been spectacular through the tour."
South African captain Graeme Smith said it was an "terrific" to sign out the series with a victory.
"The wicket wasn't easy - we thought 250-260 was a really good total. Yusuf started to middle a few and almost took it away, but we held on. We weren't as aggressive as we wanted to be when Yusuf and Zaheer were going, but otherwise we were pretty good.
"We have a really good chance at the World Cup. India have handled themselves very well in the series. The crowd have been special."
Morne Morkel, who won the man of the series award for taking 12 wickets in five matches,
said: "Things came together for me in Durban, and since then the rhythm has been great. I'm glad we held our nerve when Yusuf was going after us."
Man of the match Hashim Amla, who has been South Africa's key batsman in the series and struck an unbeaten 116 Sunday, said the series has been a good preparation for the World Cup.
"Things went well, the pitch was challenging initially. But we did well, we and (Morne) van Wyk. I am glad I managed to contribute handsomely in the decider. It was a extremely tight series, it was a nail-biter and a good preparation for the World Cup."