Former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar has termed India’s loss as “terrible”, and asked to do away with “aggressive and tentative talk” and focus more on cricket. Sri Lanka, who made a remarkeble turnaround in the fifth day of the Test at Galle, humbled a listless India by 63 runs.
A listless India capitulated to an embarrassing 63-run defeat to concede lead in the three-match series. Chasing 176 for a win on Day 4, India crashed to 112 all out as Rangana Herath bagged seven wickets.
“I think we should stop talking about aggressiveness, tentativeness and whatever, I think we should just focus on the game and start playing the game. We don’t have to justify anything to anybody as to the kind of cricket you are going to play. You have got to play cricket that suits your team, that suits the position that the team is in, suits the pitch that you are playing on and suits the opposition that you are playing against,” Gavaskar told NDTV.
“And that is the only way to play cricket and all this talk about aggressive cricket, this and that cricket really has to be shut out now and you have to just focus on good cricket. That is the most important thing, play good cricket, doesn’t matter if it’s defensive cricket, aggressive cricket, at the end of the day you want your team to win, it’s as simple as that,” he added.
India dominated first three days, and the fourth day was shared between Sri Lanka and India, nobody thoght that Indian would succumb to small total of 176. Sri Lanka winning the toss elected to bat first but were all out for paltry 183 as Ashwin brilliant wreacked havoc on their batting line up. India scored 375 in their first innings buyoant on centuries of Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli. In the second innings Sri Lanka were pulled down to 95 for 5, but a brilliant knock from Dinesh Chandimal 162 off 247 balls helped Sri Lanka to recover and spinners turned around the match in their favour.
“It would have to be one of the terrible losses that India suffered. Because after you take a big lead like this then you are expected to win the match. But clearly, despite taking that huge lead, India were just not able to step up in both the second innings, when they were bowling to the Sri Lankans and when they batted in the fourth innings. And I did say that if India were set around 170 then it would be a very tough challenge,” said the legendary opener.
However, Gavaskar feel India have chance to win the last two Tests and win the series “I think and hope that India can bounce back. Because this is a kind of loss that can demoralise the team. And as I keep saying, ‘you lose the first Test, you are always playing catch-up’. This is going to be huge for Virat and Ravi Shastri to lift the team’s morale, to get them to believe in themselves, to believe that they can come back.
Indian cricketer Rohit Sharma reacts as he walks back to the pavilion after his dismissal during the fourth day of the opening Test match between Sri Lanka and India at The Galle International Cricket Stadium in Galle on August 15, 2015. Getty
“The example of the Sri Lankans in the second innings is what they should be showing to the Indian team. Look at the way they bounced back and the Indian team certainly has the talent to bounce back. They just got to start believing in themselves,” he said.
Gavaskar also praised Sri Lankan players for their fighting qualities. “Before looking and pointing fingers at the Indian team we should give credit to the Sri Lankans. They were not daunted by the lead that India had taken of 192 and they were very very positive despite the fact that also lost wickets at the end of the second days play, when they lost those two wickets. The way (Kumar) Sangakkara and (Angelo) Mathews played, steadied the ship, allowed (Dinesh) Chandimal and (Lahiru) Thirimanne, later on after these two senior players got out, to play freely, Gavaskar said.
Gavaskar is still backing Rohit Sharma at No. 3
However, Gavaskar was soft on Rohit Sharma, who has long string of failure in Test, he says what people know, nothing else. “Rohit Sharma on the other hand started his Test career with a bang, two back-to-back hundreds and after that he was inconsistent. He got a couple of fifties but hasn’t got those big hundreds. But at least we have seen that he is capable of the big shots, capable of playing the big innings and Virat, if the captain has trust and faith in you I think you got to back that.
He compared Rohit Sharma’s career with Virat Kohli who was initially not that good with the bat, he adhere right now. “So I would back Virat as far as his faith in Rohit Sharma is concerned, for the simple reason that perhaps he is thinking of his own career. How the first half-a-dozen Test matches went for him before he got that hundred and before he got the consistency with which he is now getting the hundreds,” he added.
When asked about whether India should play one more batsman to strengthen the batting depertment in the next Test. Gavaskar leave the matter to the condition of pitch. “That is something that the pitch will dictate. From here we can’t say that we need an extra batsman or not. In the first innings with the five batsman they got almost 400 runs, so it’s not as if an extra batsman was missed. Wriddhiman Saha batting at six also got a good score. So I think it’s horses for courses,” he said.