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Gavaskar slams ‘zero resistance’

Calcutta / New Delhi: Criticising the Indian team for their poor show against England in the third Test, former captain Sunil Gavaskar said the old habit of getting complacent after a big win seems to have affected the side.

India went down by 266 runs in the Southampton Test on Thursday after the morale-lifting triumph in the second Test at Lord’s.

“We might have helped England get back the momentum. Having beaten them at their headquarters at Lord’s, we had them absolutely demoralised. But I don’t know what we did in the five intervening days after that. We were sloppy on the first morning. We dropped Cook and let him get away. We need to look at our slip fielding and so many other things. There were so many misfields,” the legendary opener told NDTV from Southampton. “It used to happen to Indian teams since 1930s but this Indian team is more professional. They should not be affected by complacency and should address the issues quickly.”

“Zero resistance” is the word that Gavaskar used to explain India’s abject surrender on the fifth and final day of the third Test while they had six wickets in hand.

“To lose a match like this showed zero resistance whatsoever. Apart from Ajinkya Rahane, who applied himself, none of the other batsmen could stay at the wicket. I must also mention that Jimmy Anderson bowled superb deliveries and the best batsmen in the world could have got out. But the disappointing aspect was no resistance,” said Gavaskar.

On what made Rahane look a better batsman than his colleagues, Gavaskar said: “It’s the way he was playing. He was not trying to reach for the ball. He waited for the ball to come on to the bat and played with a straight bat. At the same time he was quick to seize on to any scoring opportunity.

“Some of the other Indian batsmen played with hard hands and tried to reach the deliveries. I believe two people could have saved this Test match. One was Murali Vijay for the kind of form he is in and Cheteshwar Pujara, who is a long innings man.”

Gavaskar was livid with the manner in which Vijay got run out in the second innings.

“That was such a waste of a wicket. There was no run in it and even Vijay knew that it would be a tight run. He was in such good form,” he lamented.

Gavaskar praised Moeen Ali, the bowler. “He is not a bad spinner but if you are expecting him to be like Graeme Swann, then you are mistaken. Swann was an outstanding bowler, who had the ability to bowl on any surface due to his flight and loop. But Moeen is a different kind of a bowler but he also doesn’t give you too many bad deliveries to score. Having said that, this Indian team has played better spinners than Moeen Ali.”

Gavaskar felt batting has been a major cause of concern. “They (Indian team) need to understand that batting has let them down. Had the catches been taken, the bowling would have risen to the occasion. England have utilised the conditions well. Anderson and Broad know the length and areas to bowl.”