The legendary Sunil Gavaskar came down heavily on the Indian batters for their below-par show in the third Test against Australia in Indore, saying the “pitch played on their minds”.
On a surface that offered sharp turn and variable bounce from the get-go, India was dismissed for 109 and 163 as Australia qualified for the World Test Championship final with a thumping nine-wicket win on the third morning.
“Batters actually didn’t do justice to their talent. If you look at the Indian wickets, you will find it is the Indian batters who got themselves out, playing some shots anticipating that this is what the pitch is going to do,” Gavaskar said on Friday.
“If you look there is a lack of confidence because, in the first two matches, they did not get runs, apart from Rohit Sharma, who got a lovely hundred in Nagpur. When you are short of runs, there is just that little tentativeness in their batting. And you can sense that they were feeling for the deliveries.
“They were not able to go down the pitch as much as they should have. They let the pitch overtake them. It was the pitch that actually started to play on their minds, even in the first innings but more so in the second innings,” he added.
India still leads the four-match Test series 2-1 and has already clinched the Border-Gavaskar Trophy despite the defeat. After choosing to bat first, Gavaskar claimed that India fell 60–70 runs short in the first innings.
Asked about Jadeja’s no-ball, Gavaskar said: “If you look back, you will say that is probably what cost India the match because after that they (Labuschagne and Usman Khawaja) stitched a partnership of 96 when India was dismissed for 109. “So I think that was probably the turning point. That no-ball cost India the match.”
During Australia’s first innings of the Indore Test, Marnus Labuschagne received two lives at the positions of 0 and 8. Ravindra Jadeja overstepped prior to the batter being bowled off an inside edge, and India made a mistake by not requesting a DRS against the Australian right-hander.
The series’ fourth and last Test will commence on March 9 in Ahmedabad.