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Wriddhiman Saha’s focus on scores, not promotion in the batting order

In India’s first Test against Sri Lanka, Wriddhiman Saha, who has a 40 plus average in first-class and three Test hundreds, came in at No.7 and 8 in the two innings.

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Nov 22, 2017 18:53 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Nagpur
India vs Sri Lanka,Wriddhiman Saha,Virat Kohli
Wriddhiman Saha said the No. 6 batting slot in the Indian cricket team is flexible.(AP)

India’s batting wobble against Sri Lanka pacers on a lively Eden Gardens pitch in the first Test has left them with work to do in the second match starting here on Friday.

The team management sought a green pitch in Kolkata to prepare for the South Africa tour starting in January, but the hosts folded for 172 in the first innings.

Although Virat Kohli’s brilliant century set up a thrilling finish before Sri Lanka, reduced to 75/7, escaped with a draw due to bad light, India’s focus will be on batting better in seaming conditions as the South Africa pace attack will be potent.

With the Nagpur pitch also expected to help pacers, ‘keeper Wriddhiman Saha said it was important for the lower order batsmen to deliver. But Saha, who mostly bats at No 5 for Bengal, wasn’t bothered whether he or Ravichandran Ashwin came in at No 6, a slot usually taken by the best all-rounder.

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NEED TO CHIP IN

“We need to take 20 wickets to win a Test. Everyone has to contribute, for example the lower order, I or Ashwin or (Ravindra) Jadeja. Also the batsmen have to contribute, and then come the bowlers. To take 20 wickets, bowlers need more options and everyone has to contribute with the bat,” he told reporters.

South Africa may not provide the luxury of playing two spinners, and India rotated the trio in the 6-8 slots in Kolkata. But the team management would not of got the feedback as to who would stand the test of batting at No 6 abroad. Ashwin fell for four at No 6 and seven at No 7. Saha made 29 at No 7 and five at No 8. Jadeja scored 22 at No 8 and nine at No 6.

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CONDITIONS DICTATE SLOT

“The management decides (the batting slot). Not that every match I have batted at No 7. Sometimes I have gone at No 6 and Ashwin has batted after me. We keep rotating,” Saha said. “It depends on the opposition, even Jadeja has batted at No 6. Between the three of us, we keep rotating. The team management decides what conditions favour which player, and we are ready for 6, 7 and 8.”

Nagpur usually helps spinners, but Saha said whatever the conditions, India will look to put early pressure on Sri Lanka.

“I’ve not seen the pitch, it was covered. Pace-friendly or spin-friendly, we will try to take breakthroughs initially if they bat first and take the match deep and try to win… Whatever the pitch, we will go with the flow.

“Previous Test results will be at the back of our minds, but we will stay in the present. What happened two years ago or a year ago, it (conditions) need not necessarily be the same.

“Of course, at the back of the mind, we will think of South Africa and away tours. (But) first, we will look to win and take the confidence into the next match. We will go one match at a time.”

First Published: Nov 22, 2017 15:48 IST