'Batting didn't click as a unit' - Srikkanth
Kris Srikkanth, India's chief selector, has blamed the inability of the batsmen to make big scores for the team's defeats in the first two Tests of the Australia tour.
"Our batting didn't click as a unit," Srikkanth told PTI. "It is a bit surprising as we were confident of a good show in Australia. But we must admit that Australia have played better cricket than us.
"In South Africa, when we drew the Test series [in 2010-11], at least one of our batsmen went on to score a big hundred. Here our batsmen have got to half-centuries but didn't get a big score. Test cricket provides you with few opportunities but one needs to grab them when they come your way."
The defeats in Australia mean India have lost six successive away Tests, starting with their 4-0 drubbing in England - an unexpected and swift fall from grace for a side that began the England tour six months ago as the No. 1 Test team. Unlike in England, where they suffered several injury setbacks, India have had the first-choice side at their disposal in Australia. Srikkanth, like the captain MS Dhoni, refused to offer excuses.
"Look, when you lose you can cite any reason," Srikkanth said. "There is no point trying to find excuses and we need to move on. But Dhoni has been honest enough in not giving any excuses. In fact he has rightly admitted that our batting has not clicked, it has clicked only in patches.
"This is the best team we have at the moment. Also there are no injuries. I believe each and every member has accepted that Australia is playing better cricket."
India were completely outplayed in the second Test in Sydney, going down by an innings and 68 runs after winning the toss. But the previous match, in Melbourne, was much closer with India holding the upper hand before a middle- and lower-order collapse in the first innings gave Australia an opening. India eventually fell short by 122 runs while chasing 292 in the fourth innings. Srikkanth felt India should have won that match.
"We were 211 for 2 [in the first innings] and we lost it from there," Srikkanth said. "We had Sehwag, Dravid and Tendulkar playing well but then no one got a big score. When you lose the first Test, automatically, there is a lot of pressure on you. Now one should try and do well in the Perth Test. We have won in Perth last time and we should try and do well there."