The intent India showed while trying to defend their 40-run lead on the final day of the third Test at the Eden on Sunday, was somehow missing on the second day when they began their task of defending 316.
Domestic coaches, who have given India talented cricketers, feel while batting and bowling at Eden, India appeared to be playing a limited-over match.
While Virat Kohli's coach from childhood, Rajkumar Sharma, and Mehendi Sheikh, who unearthed the Pathan brothers, both felt that India did not have the wherewithal to play on turning tracks. Manoj Tiwary’s coach, Manabendra Ghosh, felt since cracking the IPL has become more important, players have unknowingly changed their game.
“I agree with (Virender) Sehwag. Our batsmen were impatient and lacked application,” said Sheikh. “Playing one-dayers and T20 means playing on flat wickets, not turners, which is what India do for most of the season.”
Sharma too said the India batting was caught short on wickets where the ball turned. “We play Ranji Trophy on mostly flat tracks. It's all about taking a first innings lead. So against quality spinners, who are accurate, we surrendered,” he said.
Virat was getting a little bogged down in the second innings and he pushed at a ball outside off. Sharma accepted that he needed to leave more balls outside off-stump and curb his natural instinct of hitting through the line, which spelt his doom because there was reverse swing.
Ghosh felt the role of spinners in limited-over cricket is different from Tests. “In T20, cramping up a batsman makes sense. But in Tests, you have to draw the batsman out on the front foot. Otherwise, what's the point of keeping close-in fielders. It's different from bowling during powerplays in a T20 match."