The defeat to a depleted Sri Lanka in the first T20 international was a good wake-up call for the Indians, according to former captain Sunil Gavaskar, who said the batsmen should have shown more respect given that the Lankan pace trio was an unknown proposition.
Put into bat, India were off to a disastrous start losing two wickets in the first over itself, eventually getting bowled out for 101.
“If you see India had lost two wickets in the first over and then Shikhar Dhawan got out trying to play a hoick for a six when in the same over we have had Suresh Raina hitting a six and a boundary, so there were enough runs scored in that over.
“And what India really need to think was the fact that this new attack of Sri Lanka they haven’t really seen it. You might see videos but when you are playing them for the first time it’s just that little bit difficult,” he said.
“These guys were bowling well, pitching the ball on a good length, getting the ball to move around. So, maybe a little bit of caution was called for particularly after India lost their first two wickets in the first over and maybe given the bowlers just that little bit more respect, then they could have got 30-40 runs which could have made the difference,” Gavaskar told ‘NDTV’.
On a lively track, which had fair amount of bounce and seam movement, India were skittled out for a paltry total in 18.5 overs with the rookie pace trio of Kasun Rajitha (3/29), Dashun Shanaka (3/16) and Dushmantha Chameera (2/14) doing bulk of the damage.
With the five-wicket defeat India’s winning sequence in T20 internationals came to an embarrassing end.
“My honest advice now is that it’s a very, very good wake-up call for the Indians having seen what the Sri Lankans can do. They should be better prepared for the remaining two matches,” Gavsakar said.
India came into the series on the back of a 3-0 sweep of Australia in a T20 series Down Under.
Even as they scored tons of runs in Australia, back home the Indian batsmen struggled.
“I think there was a bit of a hangover of playing in Australia where you play a little bit on the up and don’t really lean into the drive which is what was needed on a surface like this. I don’t think it was an impossible pitch to bat on, I think there was just a little bit of movement which is what you would get even on a grass-less pitch, particularly when you play at 7.30 in the evening the dew will make the ball move around just that little bit,” Gavaskar said.
“But I think instead of playing upright leaning closer to ball would have helped. And then there were a couple of shots which were really not necessary for the stage the Indian team was in, there was no partnership, so really everything went wrong for the Indian team.”
Gavsakar felt skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni got his calculations wrong as far as bowling was concerned.
“I think he got his calculations wrong because clearly this was not going to be a 20 over game as far as Sri Lanka batting was concerned. Because if they were to bat for 20 overs they were surely going to win the match. Chasing a little over 100 in 20 overs is very easy.
“The only way that India was going to win was to dismiss Sri Lanka. Therfore the best bowlers should have been bowled, which meant that Bumrah, Nehra, Ashwin your three main bowlers should have been bowled. But then you know that happens sometimes, by the time you realise it the game is gone away from you,” he said.