If it was former India head coach Ravi Shastri slamming India’s tactics of starting the second session of Day 2 with Shardul Thakur and Prasidh Krishna instead of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj, it was the legendary Sunil Gavaskar launching an attack on the body language of the Indian players in the morning session of Day 3 of the first Test against South Africa. Gavaskar said India’s body language and performance in the first hour of play on Thursday at the Supersport Park in Centurion was “listless” and they needed to wake up from the slumber as soon as possible.
India did start with Bumrah and Siraj but the moment captain Rohit Sharma took them off the attack to preserve them for the second new ball, the floodgates opened. Prasidh and Shardul were once again taken for runs by Marco Jansen and Dean Elgar. In between, some not-so-impressive efforts in the field angered Gavaskar.
“India have to wake up. they have been listless. some of the efforts we’ve seen, some of the body language is very very listless at the moment. Yes, Bumrah bowled a good spell but that was not backed up,” Gavaskar said on commentary.
Veteran Dean Elgar missed out on a well-deserved maiden double hundred. Still, he inflicted enough damage on India in the company of young Marco Jansen to potentially bat the visitors out of the opening Test as South Africa reached 392 for 7 at lunch.
Elgar (185 off 287 balls), whose previous highest Test score is 199, was inching towards his maiden double hundred before a faint tickle to leg-side bouncer from Shardul Thakur brought about his end.
But, that didn’t deter the lanky Jansen (72 batting, 119 balls), not exactly famous for his batting prowess, to easily negotiate a deflated Indian attack that looked out of sorts and bereft of ideas.
The Elgar-Jansen pair added 111 runs for the sixth wicket. With the lead already swelling to 147 runs, it will be a Herculean task for the Indian batters to save the game.
‘There was no energy, nothing to to charge up the bowlers’: Gavaskar
Gavaskar said the players getting tired after the tea break on a hot and sunny day is understandable but there cannot be an explanation for India’s timid approach in the first session of a new day.
“I can understand this attitude an hour after tea on a hot day but not on the first hour of the day, definitely not,” he said.
The Indian bowlers were even more disappointing on the third morning with Shardul Thakur (1/101 in 19 overs) and Prasidh Krishna (1/92 in 19 overs) sprayed all over the place, only to be mercilessly punished by the former Proteas skipper Elgar and the lanky left-arm seamer Jansen.
“They perhaps hoped to get an early wicket but once they didn’t get that, they went into a shell. There was not much clapping. There was nothing to encourage the bowlers. The boundaries were flowing and that is where you could see the body language was really down. There was no energy. This was supposed to be a crucial morning session. They really should have shown more energy,” Gavaskar said in the innings break show on Star Sports.