Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni blamed the unpredictable pitch for his team's abysmal batting performance in the lost second ODI against Sri Lanka, rejecting suggestions that rash shots led to the stunning collapse.
India were on Tuesday night bowled out for 138 in 33.3 overs --their fourth-lowest ODI total in the past five years -- by the host team, which chased down the target in under 20 overs. The five-match series is currently tied 1-1.
"The pitch was next to the wicket we played on last time but it behaved in a completely different way," Dhoni said referring to the track used for the opening ODI in which India posted a 300-plus score.
"Initially the wicket was slightly on the slower side. Once Virat (Kohli) got out we lost a couple of more wickets very quickly.
"Before the batsmen could assess the wicket, we lost two wickets played on. I thought after that it was too much for batsmen like Irfan (Pathan) and Ashwin to come in and take us out of trouble," he added.
But his opposite number, Mahela Jayawardene, disagreed with Dhoni insisting that the wicket was not that bad.
"Probably a touch slower, there were quite a few good balls as well. We bowled in good areas, created pressure, maybe couple of bad shots as well but I will take that any day.
"The important thing with the Indian batting line-up is picking up wickets and that's the only way we can control things and that is what we did today," he said.
Dhoni defended his batsmen's shot selection, refusing to call them rash.
"I don't think they were shots that were really rash. People were looking for singles. If you see Rohit's ball (the one off which he was dismissed), the shot was on. But he got an inside edge and it went onto the stumps."