Pune: India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni remained positive and said the surprise defeat to Sri Lanka in the first Twenty20 international has given them the chance to assess the team’s batting frailty ahead of the big-ticket World T20.
India’s winning sequence in T20 internationals came to an embarrassing end last night after a depleted Sri Lanka pulled off an upset five-wicket victory to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
“The good thing is this is the type of pitch on which we have not played for a long time. There were a lot of positives. It was one day everyone got a chance to bat. At the same time there was pressure on all batsmen. Yes, the result did not go our way, but there were a lot of positives to take away from this game,” said Dhoni at the post-game media conference.
“It’s rare that in a twenty over game all wickets fall. I don’t think it’s a bad idea to test everyone. Because it will give us an idea about how deep is our batting. If the top order keeps performing from now on itself, the lower order will not get an exposure and the chance to bat and get tested before the T20 World Cup,” he said.
Put into bat on a lively track, which had fair amount of bounce and seam movement, India were skittled out for a paltry 101 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.
Sri Lanka reached the target with two overs to spare. Dhoni said, “This is a different format. Accordingly we will have to adjust. We should not be looking into the 50-over format. In this format if someone gets 10 off 2 balls we say well played. What is important is we have to see how the wicket behaves. If you chase 140 there is no point in trying to win in 12 or 13 overs. Better to aim for 16th or 17th over.
All these things will be a factor (going forward),” he added. The hosts were 72 for 8 before top-scorer Ravichandran Ashwin, who made 31 not out in 24 balls, took the score to 100.
Dhoni said if India had made 140, it would have been a defendable total on a track that assisted seam bowlers, but at the same time praised the Lankans for bowling in one area. “If you see, close to 140 was definitely a good score and would have been slightly difficult to chase. But we can’t say whether it was the par score or not, but it was definitely not a 160-170 score wicket. There was definitely a lot for the fast bowlers, a bit of variable bounce, a bit of sponge-like bounce which made it difficult to consistently play the big shots.
“There was definitely something for the fast bowlers if you could keep hitting one area. It depended on how consistently you can keep hitting the right areas. They did not give width and they did bowl well. We also kept losing wickets that added pressure on the new batsmen coming in,” explained Dhoni.
Dhoni conceded that his batsmen were perhaps thinking that all Indian tracks would behave in the same manner, especially on the back of their run-glut in Australia in the T20 series which they won 3-0. “A partnership was important. We tried a big shot when partnerships were building. Coming from a series where we had made lot of runs, at times it looks that whatever the wicket it is an Indian wicket. But the important thing is we have not used the last two batsmen earlier. It’s a way to look forward.”
He, however, did not criticise the track and said whatever the conditions they would accept them and play. “It’s not our fault what kind of wicket we get. Whatever wickets are provided, we will play. We are not bothered about the types of wickets we get.”
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