'Complacent. Overconfident. Took things for granted': Shastri's no-holds-barred attack on Rohit Sharma and Co
While most blamed the pitch for India's loss in the third Test vs Australia, Ravi Shastri said the hosts "took things for granted" and "the game brought them down".
Complacency. Overconfidence. Drop in intensity. It was a combination of all these things that brought about India's downfall in the third Test in Indore, felt former head coach Ravi Shastri as Australia came roaring back with a nine-wicket victory to take the Border-Gavaskar Trophy to the decider in Ahmedabad. It was all India in the first two Tests in Nagpur and Delhi. Yes, Australia had their moments, especially with the ball in both those Tests but India found a way to claw their way back in and then drove home the advantage with the ball. In Indore, that wasn't the case.
The big difference this time around was that India were batting first. The pitch, by far the most difficult one to bat on in this series so far, had the long Indian batting line-up in a fix as they were bowled out for 109 in just over a session. The Rohit Sharma-led side lasted only 33.2 overs. From then on, it was always going to be catch-up cricket.
The bowlers did their part led by Ravindra Jadeja (4/78), Ravichandran Ashwin (3/44) and Umesh Yadav (3/12) by restricting Australia's lead to 88 by bowling them out for 197.
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India were in desperate need of a turnaround with the bat in the second innings. Any lead over 150 would have been very difficult on this fast-deteriorating surface. But for that, India needed to score in excess of 250. The only resistance came from Cheteshwar Pujara, who scored a gritty 59 while the rest of the batters fell to Nathan Lyon. The off-spinner picked up eight wickets as India were bundled out for 163.
Defending 75 even on this wicket was always going to be next to impossible. Ashwin struck in the very first over by dismissing Usman Khawaja for a duck but Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne dug deep and then accelerated to finish the match.
While most blamed the pitch for India's loss, Shastri said the hosts "took things for granted" and "the game brought them down".
"This is what a little complacency, a little bit of overconfidence can do where you take things for granted, you drop guard and this game will bring you down," Shastri said in the commentary after Australia reached home in the morning session of Day 3.
"I think it was a combination of all these things when you actually cast your mind back to the first innings, see some of the shots played, see some of the over-eagerness to try and dominate in these conditions. You reflect back, take a step back or two to analyse," he added.
Former Australia opener Matthew Hayden highlighted the changes made by India in the Test match and said it kind of indicates that players are "playing for their spots."
"Change of team too. KL Rahul dropped. Some of those things can be a bit destabilising, players playing for their spots and their opportunities can create a different mindset. This can be said about Travis Head. He was left out of the first Test but came out with a fire in the belly from the second Test, something Australians are known for. Punching above our weight, in spite of the conditions," Hayden said.