The legendary Sunil Gavaskar on Friday came down heavily on the Indian batters for their below-par show in the third Test against Australia, saying the “pitch played on their minds”.
On a surface that offered sharp turn and variable bounce from the get-go, India were 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 told Star Sports.
“If you look there is 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.
Despite the loss, India still lead the four-match Test series 2-1 and have already retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Gavaskar said India were 60-70 runs short in the first innings, after opting to bat first.
“The pitch started to talk in the first hour itself, so it wasn’t going to be easy but still if we had made 160-170 in the first innings that could have made the difference,” the batting great said.
Marnus Labuschagne was handed two lives — on 0 and 8 — in Australia’s first innings of the Indore Test. The batter played on to a Ravindra Jadeja ‘no ball’, before India erred by not opting for a DRS.
Asked about the 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 were dismissed for 109.
“So I think that was probably the turning point. That no ball cost India the match.” The fourth and final Test of the series will be played in Ahmedabad from March 9.