Kris Srikkanth has lashed out at the Indian batting order following their recent failure against South Africa as he criticized them for lacking a stomach for battle. The former Indian skipper, however, praised Virat Kohli’s effort stating that he deserved support from his top-order batsmen.
After a narrow 72-run defeat in Newlands, India had yet another decent display in Centurion before the batsmen crumbled down again. Responding to South Africa’s strong lead of 335 runs in the first innings, India managed a fighting 307 runs, courtesy
Apart from a late fight-back from Rohit Sharma (47) and Mohammed Shami (28), who ended up as the highest scorers for the side, no other Indian batsmen stood up to South Africa’s pace attack as they handed the Test series to the Proteas in the first two games.
"To say the defeat in the second Test was an embarrassment is an understatement. The manner in which the batsmen surrendered in the second innings proved beyond doubt they lacked the stomach for a battle," Srikkanth wrote in his column for TOI.
"I am not going to get into the manner in which the Indian batsmen lost their wickets, all I can say is the South African bowling was not as menacing as it was made out to be and it was lack of application that cost the game. A target of 287 was not easy at the same time it was not impossible."
From the batting end, it was only Kohli who showed terrific fighting spirit. He spent total 379 minutes on the crease during his 153-run knock, facing 217 deliveries as his knock raised slender hopes of a comeback in the series. However, after Murali Vijay’s dismissal, Kohli couldn’t get any teammate whatsoever to forge a good partnership with, as the familiar downfall of wickets continued on the other end.
"My heart goes out to Virat Kohli the batsman. The manner in which he handled the bowling in the first innings made us believe he was playing on a different wicket against a different attack. He deserved support from his top order colleagues. Barring M Vijay and later R Ashwin, there was little else for Kohli to fall back on," he wrote.
"To score half the team's score and do that effortlessly shows the class of Kohli. It was a pity that his early fall in the second innings shut the match as a contest. I did expect the batsmen to come out with a better show during the chase. At the end of the day, this team looks like a team of good bowlers and one great batsman."
However, bowlers’ performance still remains one of the positives for India in the ongoing series. Despite India getting the stick for benching Bhuvneshwar Kumar following his brilliant display in the first Test, the likes of Ishant Sharma Jasprit Bumarh and Mohammed Shami did well. All-rounder Hardik Pandya also tried to back the bowling attack and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin by claiming five wickets in two innings. In both the games, the bowlers managed to take all the South African wickets.
"The Indian bowlers, on the other hand, have done a terrific job. Barring the first innings at Cape Town where they leaked 40 runs more
"South Africa prevailed during the clutch situations, thanks to their superior fielding. On the other hand, the Indian fielders let their bowlers down badly by putting them too many chances. The visitors have no excuse left, they were beaten by a team that showed more purpose and importantly, played like a team that wanted to win."