London: Disappointed by India’s defensive approach, former head coach Ravi Shastri has said Rohit Sharma did not show a “positive mindset” by electing to bowl in the World Test Championship final against Australia here.
India left out veteran offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin and preferred a four-pronged pace attack to go with left-arm spin bowling allrounder Ravindra Jadeja as they chose to bowl under overcast conditions.
The decision backfired as Steve Smith (95 batting) and Travis Head (146 batting) shared an unbroken 251-run partnership to put Australia in a commanding 327/3 heading into day two.
“From what came out today, the mindset was to field if they won the toss, hence the choices in the bowling department — four seamers one spinner,” Shastri told ICC after the end of the opening day’s play on Wednesday.
“If the mindset was positive you’d want to bat, rough it out in the first session and see if you can put 250 on board. Don’t think too big 250-260 and if the conditions got better and you saw the first session through, you could have got more,” he added.
India had Australia at 73/2 at lunch on day one but after the skies cleared up it became a batting beauty as Smith and Head swung the momentum in their favour.
Shastri further said Australia is in a prime position and it’s up to Pat Cummins and his men to let India back into the marquee contest.
“I think Australia is in a prime position now. It’s up to them to allow India back into the game, they batted beautifully, especially in the first session of play and that really set things up,” Shastri said.
The former India all-rounder feels the only way India can claw their way back into the contest is by making optimum use of the new ball on Thursday and taking wickets.
“You have to think wickets, if you wait for things to happen this game is gone. Australia will be another 200 runs by tea time tomorrow if not more. So think wickets try and make the second new ball count in the first 45 minutes of play.”
“You saw what you did with Head — better lines, into the body, lot of short stuff and take it from there and if you strike early you take it from there.”
However, Shastri opined that if India don’t manage to get quick wickets in the morning session on day two the game will fly out of their hands.
“Winning will become difficult. If you lose that session in the morning then you can forget about winning.
“Australia can bat India out of the contest by even wanting to bat two and a half sessions tomorrow with the way they are going they could be 600 plus,” Shastri added.