Second ODI loss 'a wake-up call' for India
Gautam Gambhir has said that the India batsmen got complacent after making 314 in the first ODI against Sri Lanka and has termed the big loss in the second game a "wake-up call" early in the season. He has, however, pointed out that some of the India players could be rusty as they are coming out of a near-two-month break while Sri Lanka have just won a tough series against Pakistan.
"Sometimes what happens is when you have made 300-plus runs and you are coming after a break and end up winning the first game, you can take things for granted thinking that we have got 300, so we can again turn up and get 300," Gambhir said. "It is a good wake-up call for us that we can't.
"Our energy levels were not up for it. All of us were thinking, we managed 300, we have won the toss again, we are batting first in those flat conditions, [so] we can again turn up and get 300-plus and try and restrict Sri Lanka but then that is not the way you go into a game. You have to go into the game thinking [that] Sri Lanka will come hard at you and [it is a] new wicket, new conditions, new start.
"We can't take Sri Lanka lightly at any stage. They are a very good side especially in their own backyard so it is important that we got to be ready for this challenge tomorrow and whatever they throw at us we should be able to give it back to them."
MS Dhoni had said earlier that India rely a lot on the starts provided by the top three batsmen - Virender Sehwag, Gambhir and Virat Kohli in this series. Sehwag and Kohli fell early in the second game, and before the batsmen could assess the pitch, according to Dhoni, India were 60 for 5. Angelo Mathews, the Sri Lanka vice-captain, said his side would target the India top order again tomorrow.
"When it comes to the top order, they make a huge difference," Mathews said. "If we can get a few wickets early on, we can put pressure on the middle order batsmen. In the first two games they didn't have the time to get set and score."
The first two matches were in Hambantota, where it was so windy that Sehwag said batsmen were being thrown off their stance. Up north-west in Colombo, the conditions have changed to hot and humid; the humidity, especially, can be very tiring. Gambhir, however, said that India shouldn't bother too much about the conditions.
"Breeze was playing a huge role in Hambantota. At times it was difficult to play on one side of the wicket especially against the breeze because it was so strong," Gambhir said. "We all know that the Premadasa is a flat track and there are great opportunities of making big scores. It is pretty humid so we need to get adjusted to it as soon as possible.
"We should be raring to go rather than thinking what are the conditions and how are the conditions. As a professional cricketer you need to get used to these conditions as soon as possible and try and get the results in your favour."
The Premadasa pitch, before being relaid for the 2011 World Cup, used to heavily favour the side batting first as the ball would move around in the evening. While Gambhir felt it would still do a bit under lights, Mathews said that the pitch doesn't change much now for the chasing side and referred to Sri Lanka's successful chase last month against Pakistan at the same ground.
Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo