India spinners paid the price for trying too many things in the Rajkot Test where England batsmen amassed 537 in the first innings, out of favour India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh said on Thursday.
R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra failed to impress on a good pitch with three England batsmen scoring centuries in a Test innings in India for the first time since 1960-61.
“They are all good spinners, and it is alright to have an off-day. At times, when you try too many things, they don’t work in your favour,” said Harbhajan, India’s third highest Test wicket-taker with 417 scalps.
The spin trio conceded 351 runs, 65.36% of England’s tally. Ashwin, the world’s top-ranked bowler and India’s trump card for over a year, could bowl just three maidens in 46 overs.
Jadeja gave away 86 runs, the most by him in a home Test while Mishra was the least impressive.
“It is one of those days when you don’t click and I would wish them all the luck for the series, which still is very young. I am sure they will improve as the series progresses. Hopefully, they will play more on such tracks, so that they learn to take wickets on such pitches.”
Indian spinners have been on a roll in home conditions post the 2012-13 series, when England upstaged them 2-1. Since then, spinners have held sway on turning tracks in wins over Australia (4-0), West Indies (2-0), South Africa (3-0) and New Zealand (3-0).
On the Rajkot pitch, the 103-Test veteran said: “I haven’t seen the wicket, (but) I have seen the score which shows it must be pretty good to bat on. It’s a totally different track from what we have seen in the last five years.”
“It’s always challenging to bowl on such tracks. It tests not only your skill as a bowler, but also your mind. On these tracks, you have to be patient, bowl tight lines and set the right fields.”
But he was confident Virat Kohli’s men will bounce back soon.
“We know our grounds, our conditions. Once the ball starts spinning, it will be a different ball game altogether. I think India will win the series 3-0.”
Harbhajan, who last played a Test in Galle last year, said: “I am on a break from domestic cricket as I want to give time to my wife and my new-born daughter. Right now, I am not ready for a comeback. However, I will play Punjab’s Ranji Trophy match against Tamil Nadu starting on November 21.”