After India’s top-order was left battered by venomous Sri Lankan bowling attack on the first day of the first Test match at Eden Gardens, assistant coach Sanjay Bangar said the side is happy to play on tricky conditions. Speaking to reporters after the day’s play, Bangar said, “We are happy to play on wickets like this. A team doesn’t really want to play in easy conditions. We challenge ourselves and most players are open to such challenges. We want to continue improving as a team.”
On a day curtailed by frequent spells of rain, India found itself losing three wickets in just 11.5 overs. Sri Lanka’s right-arm fast bolwer Suranga Lakmal used the bounce and swing offered by the conditions and took all the three wickets. KL Rahul and Virat Kohli were unable to open their accounts, while Shikhar Dhawan was sent packing after scoring 8 runs by Lakmal.
Praising the bowler’s efforts, Bangar said, “You can’t really fault them (Rahul, Dhawan and Kohli) for shot selections. All credit to Lakmal who put the ball in right place and let the wicket did the rest. He used the conditions that suited him.”
With only one hour of play possible due to bad lighting and a wet outfield, Bangar said the frequents stoppage did not help India. “The conditions were pretty tough for batting and what didn’t really help us was we did not get an extended passage for play wherein you had 15-20 overs bowled at a batsman in a particular fashion. It didn’t allow our batsmen to get into a rhythm,” the former all-rounder said.
But, in spite of going three wickets down, Bangar said the team can make a comeback. “It was a similar wicket last year after it was relaid. We played the Test really well and applied ourselves. We are ready for the challenge.”
The 45-year old further added that Indian bowlers have the capability to make the best of the pitch as the game progresses. “There would be dents in the wicket because of the dampness. There will be variable bounce which may come into play. Both spinners are really vital to us. We have got swing and seam and the pace that is required,” he said.
Cheteshwara Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane remained on the crease by the time the day was called off. Bangar believes India has enough batting talent down the order to sustain the innings in the coming days. “The quality of all-rounders gives a lot of depth in lower order batting and also bowling option to get 20 wickets in a Test. It has worked well in two and a half seasons and we have won mainly because of our composition,” he said.