After routing Australia 3-0 at their backyard, Team India got a rude shock as they lost by 5 wickets in the first T20 of the three match series in Pune to a depleted Sri Lankan team. A result that saw India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni losing his cool and in process taking a dig at the pitch prepared for the first T20 International terming it an “English” rather than Indian track. The Indian batsmen were all at sea against the seam and bounce extracted by rookie Sri Lanka pacers to get all-out for 101 in 18.5. A shocking batting display from a star- studded line-up.
“The wicket was completely different to what we have been playing in the last one month (in Australia). It was more like an English wicket. There was spongy bounce, and variable pace. The wicket was also not rolled properly. Looking at the wicket, we should not have played a few big shots that we played,” Dhoni said at the post-match presentation ceremony. Asked if it was difficult to adjust to the Indian conditions after playing a month in Australia, Dhoni’s sarcastic reply was:”It was more English conditions than Indian conditions.”
Dhoni felt that another 25-30 runs could have made the contest interesting. “This was not a 160 wicket. This was more of a 135-140 kind of wicket because there was some help for the fast bowlers. Our shot selection should have been better. Looking at the positives, everybody got a chance to bat today. The bowlers did really well and another 25 runs could have made it interesting. When we went there to field, we believed that we can try hard to defend a small total,” said the skipper.
A delighted and surprised Sri Lankan captain Dinesh Chandimal also echoed Dhoni’s sentiments stating that “toss became important” after he saw fresh grass on the 22-yard strip. “I’m over the moon. I thought toss was important. I saw some fresh grass on the pitch. Credit goes to bowlers, they did a really good job. It’s a young team. Every time we tell them to back themselves and do what they are capable of. We are missing a lot of senior players but the youngsters have put their hands up and grabbed the opportunity.”
A new look and young Sri Lanka’s shock win at Pune has opened up the series nicely. The pressure will be now on India as they take the field in Ranchi for the second T20 on 12th February.