India clearly missed a fifth bowler, says Sunil Gavaskar

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India clearly missed a fifth bowler, says Sunil Gavaskar

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SportsCafe Desk

03/21/2017

Sunil Gavaskar has insisted that India would have been in a better position to win the Ranchi Test had they opted for a fifth bowler in the eleven. Gavaskar also praised the Australians, particularly Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh, for the way they managed to save the game in a difficult situation.

India entered the third Test of the four-match series with just two bowlers and two all-rounders. On a pitch that did not offer too much for the bowlers, it was a tough outing for the bowlers. Gavaskar opined that since India had a pretty deep batting order, they could have opted to for an additional bowler and switch to a 6-5 system, where a team opts to have six batsmen and five bowlers, including all-rounders.

"India's batting has benefited by the fact that you have somebody like (Ravichandran) Ashwin, somebody like a Wriddhiman Saha at No 6, 7 and 8. And if Jadeja can come score runs as he has done in this series then I think it really makes sense to go back to five bowlers and six batsmen theory," Gavaskar told NDTV.

"Today India clearly missed a fifth bowler. I am not saying a fifth bowler would have ripped through the opposition but he would have given just that little bit of break to our hardworking fast bowlers. Both Umesh (Yadav) and Ishant (Sharma) bowled their hearts out."

The Little Master also rejected Steve Smith's theory that it was the Australians who had momentum on their side going into the decider in Dharamsala with the series level at 1-1.

"I think the momentum is still with India because they are ones who came back, having batted second and chasing 450 plus score. They might not have bowled Australia out but I think the momentum definitely is still with India," Gavaskar said.

"At the end of the day momentum doesn't mattter much because after the Bangalore win we thought India has the momentum but things didn't go well. So what happens on the day is important."

India appeared to be in a comfortable position on the last day having dismissed the in-form Steve Smith and Matt Renshaw early. But Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh put on a brilliant partnership. Gavaskar praised the performance of the two Aussies, calling it "old-fashioned Test match batting".

"I think the way these two (Handscomb and Marsh) batted, they denied India a win. It was good, old-fashioned Test match batting. It didn't mean that they were playing for a draw from the first ball of the game. It's fine when you find that you are not in a position to win then it's better to save the game and live to fight for another day. And that's exactly what the Australians have done because if Australia would have lost today, it would have been an uphill climb. Now they have an opportunity to win the series," Gavaskar said.

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