Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar today rated India’s bowling on the opening day of the third cricket Test against Australia as their best performance in the series so far but reminded that lack of quality bowling all-rounder could hurt the visitors again going into day two.
India restricted Australia to 259 for five, keeping the run-rate below three in the 90 overs bowled.
“It certainly was India’s best effort with the ball. It could have been even better for India had they bowled a bit more fuller. Having said that, there is no place for ifs and buts in cricket,” Gavaskar told NDTV today.
India have a perennial problem in cleaning up the lower-order quickly and Gavaskar thinks it could haunt them again tomorrow.
In-form captain Steven Smith is batting on 72 and Brad Haddin 23 with India’s tormentor in the Brisbane Test, Mitchell Johnson, to follow.
“Considering Haddin has got four Test centuries, Johnson has got one too, Australia can cross 400 as well. As it is, Smith is such at ease whether it is taking on spinners or the faster bowlers. India have to get him early tomorrow and then try to wrap up the innings at the earliest,” said Gavaskar.
Asked what he thought of M S Dhoni’s stance of playing with four specialist bowlers, Gavaskar said: “Well there was a batting collapse in the second innings in Brisbane and Dhoni thinks it is better to play six specialist batsmen with he being the seventh. It has been like that for a while now.
“That is why India needs someone who can make an impact (with the ball), take five wickets two or three times in a series if not at all times. India doesn’t have a quality all-rounder,” said the former India captain.
Gavaskar said he did not find anything wrong with the selection of debutant Lokesh Rahul over someone like a Suresh Raina. Rahul has been brought into the eleven in place of an out-of-form Rohit Sharma.
“Probably the thinking was to replace a right-hand batsman with another right-hand batsman. Plus Rahul is unexposed unlike Raina, who Australians know is susceptible against the short-ball. Considering that, I don’t see anything wrong in his selection,” said Gavaskar.
Gavaskar feels that it might be a case that Rahul will directly bat at No 6 which was Rohit’s batting position while Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay will continue to bat at the top. The legendary opener also explained the logic.
“It is not advisable that a No 6 batsman opens while an opener can bat at No 6. In a way, it can be good for Rahul. It will allow his nerves to settle down before he goes out to bat,” Gavaskar added.