Rohit Sharma’s ODI captaincy began on a sour note as India went down to Sri Lanka by seven wickets in the first of three ODI matches on Sunday. What was more shocking was how the batting line-up struggled to negotiate the Sri Lanka bowlers in pace-friendly conditions.
India were down to 29/7 before crawling to 112 all out. Rohit, the stand-in skipper in Virat Kohli’s absence, said the team will learn from this experience.
“We knew conditions were going to be tough but sometimes when you are put in such situations, you have to bat according to it, which means we got to respect the bowlers. I don’t think we played any rash shots. They bowled in the right channel, kept us guessing all the time and batsmen were made to play all the time,” he said at the post-match press conference.
“Credit should go to the Sri Lankan bowlers, they made full use of the conditions, but as a batting unit, days like these will teach us a lot of things, not always do we get to play on flat conditions and we as a team want to thrive in such conditions and come out on top.”
Rohit admitted it was a new experience. “For us, we were trying to survive in those conditions because we knew that if the initial overs get over, the wicket will get better. But we lost wickets and were also not scoring at a good pace. It’s an eye opener, we will learn from it. It’s a young batting group, the guys, including myself, will learn and play well in these situations next time.”
Defending the low score, Indian bowlers gave the hosts a good start by picking two early wickets. However, a no-ball from Virat Kohli saw Upul Tharanga get a life after he was caught by Dinesh Karthik. Rohit didn’t see it as a big incident.
Don’t blame bowlers
“We lost the game with the bat and not with the ball. It will be unfair to single out one individual, especially a bowler. We as a batting group failed to tackle the situation. I wouldn’t say it cost us dearly, because there was not enough total on the board, if we would have scored 180-190 maybe we could have said so. But if you are defending 110, you can hardly do anything except get 3-4 wickets with the new ball and try to come back into the game,” Rohit said.
This is not the first time India have struggled in pace-friendly conditions against Sri Lanka. In overcast conditions in the first Test in Kolkata, India struggled. Rohit felt it will have no bearing on the South African tour starting early in January.
“This is a one-day side, I don’t think there is any comparison. With the Test team, we struggled in Kolkata. Any team in those conditions will struggle. I have seen enough cricket and we recently saw Ashes as well, what was happening there,” he said.
“In conditions like those, one or two batsmen will score, not all.”