India skipper Rohit Sharma on Friday gave an honest assessment of what went wrong with the team in the third Test of the ongoing series for the Border-Gavaskar trophy.
India struggled in both innings as Matthew Kuhnemann ran the show for the Aussies in the first innings with his maiden 5-wicket haul. Veteran spinner Nathan Lyon ensured Australia’s dominance in the second innings, as he almost dismantled the entire Indian batting line-up, picking up 8 wickets. Speaking in the post-match conference Rohit opened up on what went wrong for hosts in the third Test. “If you look at all the dismissals, we played poorly. Of the ten wickets, maybe (in) one or two (dismissals), the pitch did help the bowler a little bit. But other than that, I think it was the skill of the bowler to fox the batsman that stood out. We played some poor shots as well. We didn’t apply enough pressure on their batters. If you look at the way Australia played, they scored 197 (in their first innings). Had their last 6 wickets not collapsed for a few runs, they could have even reached 250-275. And, on a pitch like that, 275 was a damn good score. So lack of concentration and application is what I would attribute our loss to. You got to apply yourself and bat as long as possible, taking all your chances in the middle and not letting the bowler ball six balls on one spot. Even if a bowler tries to zero in at the same spot ball after ball, as a bowler, you got to try and do something to put him off his line and length and that is something we didn’t do in this game. In both innings, we allowed them to bowl at one spot.
This is where we made a mistake in this Test. We will correct it come the Ahmedabad Test.
The entire Indian batting lineup collapsed in a dramatic fashion in the first innings, to finish at 109. At that point, many questions were raised regarding the pitch and India’s choice to play on such conditions.
Former Australia batter Matthew Hayden criticised the pitch on air.
While commentating on the opening day of the third Test, he said, “There’s no way, spinners should come to bowl in the sixth over. This is the reason I don’t like these kinds of surfaces.”
On Day-2, the former southpaw continued in a similar vein, saying, “It’s an absolute desert. It is so dry.”
On Hayden’s criticism of the surface at Indore, Rohit said, “As the host country, we have the right to decide what we have to do and what kind of pitches we want to play on. This was a collective call of the whole team. So I don’t think we are putting any pressure on our batters (to adapt to playing on slow, turning tracks). When we win, everything’s fine. It is only when we lose that these things get talked about. We decided to play on such pitches, knowing the challenges we were facing and were ready for them. Players have to play well for the game to last all five days. Games finish early even outside India. Yesterday, in South Africa, the Test (against West Indies) got over inside three days. So it is about skills, people have to adapt to pitches helping certain bowlers. Batters need to try and test their skills. It isn’t about playing on flat decks and finishing at honours even. In Pakistan, three Tests were played over five days but were called boring. We are making it interesting for you guys.”