India v Sri Lanka, tri-series, Kingston

India forget the Hobart blueprint

India had chased a similar target in tougher circumstances in Hobart, but in Jamaica they batted as though they didn't remember that achievement

Aakash Chopra

July 3, 2013

Comments: 52 | Text size: A | A

Angelo Mathews is mobbed after removing Virat Kohli, India v Sri Lanka, West Indies tri-series, Kingston, July 2, 2013
The asking rate had soared by the time Virat Kohli entered in the 15th over and he was dismissed for 2 © AFP

Asking a team to chase 349 in an ODI is like asking Usain Bolt to run as fast as he would for a 100-metre sprint, but over a distance of ten kilometres. Bolt would be expected to start strongly, get into a rhythm and then keep sprinting until the very last lap. India's task against Sri Lanka at Sabina Park was as impossible as that hypothetical race. They had pulled off something similar before, though.

Once India conceded 348 on a pitch that behaved radically different from the sluggish ones in the first two matches in Kingston, it brought to mind memories of another chase against Sri Lanka, in Hobart.

At Bellerive Oval, India had been on the brink of elimination from the tri-series and needed to chase 321 inside 38 overs. They were aggressive from the outset, continuing the onslaught even after losing a few wickets, and attacked until the target was achieved in the timeframe that had seemed improbable. While conditions in Jamaica and Hobart were quite different, the method of that chase could have served as a reference point for this one.

In Hobart, Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar disregarded the slight lateral movement in the air and off the pitch to wrest the initiative. They played innovative shots to unsettle the Sri Lankan bowlers and also to announce India's intent to fight. In Jamaica, however, the Indian batsmen sleepwalked through the mandatory Powerplay.

India had been 97 for 2 after ten overs in Hobart; they were 28 for 1 on Tuesday. During that time, the asking rate of seven per over had jumped to eight. The lack of runs during the fielding restrictions could have been easier to understand had India lost wickets while attempting big shots, but the fact that they didn't show an intention to get a move on was baffling.

The blistering start in Hobart had allowed India the room to consolidate once the field restrictions were lifted. Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir scored at around a run a ball for the next twenty overs, but the initial blitz kept them at pace with the asking rate. The urgency, even when the big hits weren't as frequent, had been palpable.

Such urgency from two well-set batsmen - Shikhar Dhawan and M Vijay - was nowhere to be seen at Sabina Park. Either they were too bullish about their ability to score 15 an over later on, or they didn't realise the hole they were digging might be too deep for the others to escape from. Once they, and Kohli, were dismissed, it was over. India had lost the match within the first 20 overs of the chase. The fact that the slow scoring didn't prompt a change in the batting order, or the taking of the batting Powerplay before the 36th over, indicated a lack of fight.

The only batsman who showed urgency and the right intent, Suresh Raina, came in after the result was a foregone conclusion. The absence of MS Dhoni in the lower order should have dictated a more aggressive approach at the top, but it did not.

While two chases cannot be identical, India could have tried to follow the example they had set 18 months ago. Hobart was a perfect chase of a 300-plus total in a reduced number of overs; Jamaica was a perfect example of how it must not be done.

The most striking feature of the Indian team that won the Champions Trophy a couple of weeks ago was the fearless approach to batting. In the first two matches of this Caribbean tri-series, that approach has been discarded.

It is possible that this Indian team is slightly jaded too, for winning a major trophy can be physically and mentally exhausting. These players have played non-stop cricket for the last three months and that must take its toll at some stage. An excessive amount of cricket could mean that victories lose their sweetness and losses their sting. Hopefully, that is not the case yet for this young Indian team, otherwise there will be more of the same in Trinidad.

Former India opener Aakash Chopra is the author of Out of the Blue, an account of Rajasthan's 2010-11 Ranji Trophy victory. His website is here and his Twitter feed here

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Posted by SLMaster on (July 4, 2013, 16:18 GMT)

I do not think India can run down such target with current team. Hobart team in India was talented.

Posted by   on (July 4, 2013, 15:49 GMT)

The Indian team has lost its hunger to win after achieving a CT win. After the world cup or champions trophy the teams should have been rested for at least 3 weeks before playing any cricket. Agreed the bowling attack is not great but too much cricket can take its toll on the players.

Posted by   on (July 4, 2013, 10:18 GMT)

absence of dhoni shows with out him India cannot perform well dhoni is a thinking captain and srilanka was great the opening pair did a good job knowing that its a difficult pitch to bat well done mahela and upul they hammered the indian bowlers at the last 10 overs once again well done team lanka all the best

Posted by Herath-UK on (July 4, 2013, 9:59 GMT)

The beauty of Sri Lankan cricketers is they have this uncanny knack of setting records; what a set records reading the other article! Well done Lions. Ranil Herath - Kent

Posted by Arrenga2002 on (July 4, 2013, 8:20 GMT)

well said Ruchira..very rational....

Posted by   on (July 4, 2013, 1:47 GMT)

@SunnyD even if they had waited six months after the CT, or use new players India still would get their spanking from Sri lanka and the WI.. These two teams also played the CT why does India need time to enjoy a win..A champion should always be ready..Please stop finding excuses whenever India get thrashed!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Kavum on (July 3, 2013, 19:25 GMT)

This game was mostly about young skipper Mathews vs young skipper Kohli. For the next 8 to 10 years, hopefully, we will see this match-up. Missing Dhoni with his experience and sterling qualities, is obviously a HUGE influence on the team but, to be number one consistently, India needs leadership options. SL misses Dilshan. No one gave them a chance. If India had won, no talk about fatigue or pointless triangular tourneys, would be bandied about. India has got the better of SL more often than not in the past 18-24 months. They will most probably bounce back. However this pointless hating and one-upmanship over one game is just stupid. You know who you are! Just enjoy a great sport and be sportsmanlinke in cheering deserved winners on the day.

Posted by   on (July 3, 2013, 17:33 GMT)

I am a Sri Lankan fan and thought India have the strongest batting line in the World. However, it seems like they are not that good at all without MSD's leadership. MSD is Captain Cool who can handle situations like this in calm and cool manner. I don't think that Mr. Attitude VK has the same abilities what MSD has. In other words India without MSD's leadership like bunch of orphans who are running around with no control at all. It is partially MSD's fault too because he has not groomed Mr. Attitude VK for leadership. Bottom line is Sri Lanka out played India in every department of the game and they played some excellent cricket. Well Done Sri Lanka.

Posted by Samuel-Rathnasiri on (July 3, 2013, 16:31 GMT)

Upul Tharanga is the best & most experienced SL opening batman among the young bunch! His career stats (ODIs 164 -5153 R -34.81 Av-13x100 -28x50 ) confirm it, but unfortunately he was systematically eliminated from the scene by the previous admin regime (DeMel/Mendis) of SLC! Just after a remarkable performance in 2011 WC (5th best batting record in 2011 WC scoring 395r at an average of 56.4 with2x100 and a 50) he was banned for 3 months with doping allegations (for taking a prescribed medication for an ailment) thanks to the responsible SLC physician's "overlook". Then repeatedly sidelined him to shatter his confidence! He was totally eliminated from Test cricket by that same horrible regime. It was quite predictable/ obvious, looking at the new replacement, who took his place! Preferred school tie "policy" prevailed for ages in SL cricket due to stupid admins. Even players like Dilshan (dropped for Mubarak), Chandana (dropped for Lokuarachchi) etc were effected during their careers

Posted by whocareswhowins on (July 3, 2013, 16:28 GMT)

Totally pointless ODI series. No interest whatsoever. The Indian team should have been resting after the CT. But BCCI's insatiable greed for money brings on these last minute meaningless mind-numbing ODI series, like last winter's 3-match series against Pakistan, which India promptly lost !! Very sad to see the Indian team thrashed so comprehensively. They shoud'nt have been there in the first place..

Posted by ThatsJustCricket on (July 3, 2013, 16:24 GMT)

Akash, you have echoed the frustration of the fans. Losing the match by a big margin while chasing 350 is understandable but the sleepy batting at the top and a complete lack of intent was quite baffling.

Posted by SL_Ruchira on (July 3, 2013, 15:56 GMT)

Mind you, India only chased down 321 in Hobart. South Africa chased down a mammoth 434 in Johannesburg. So if your argument is correct, SA should be able to chase down any target set by any team anywhere in the world on any given day.

Just stop making excuses and accept India were beaten heavily. And see what went wrong and address those issues. Otherwise, they will never be able to hold on to the top position of ODI cricket for a long time no matter how much talent is produced by your country.

Posted by SL_Ruchira on (July 3, 2013, 15:45 GMT)

I might not an expert of cricket like Mr. Akash Chopra. But I would like to bring few points to Mr. Chopra's consideration. 1) Do you think the fearless approach is the only factor for a successful chase of a huge target? 2) Do you think all pitches around the world behave the same? 3) Do you think bowlers use the same strategy every day? 4) If 1), 2) and 3) above are "Yes" for you, every team that bats second in an ODI must be able to chase down any total just by applying the fearless approach. One important difference of this match to the Hobart is that, it's not because of the flatness of the pitch that SL made 348/1. It's because they applied themselves well on a difficult pitch to bat on. And this is not the kind of pitch that the team batting second can chase down a total like 348.

Posted by SunnyD on (July 3, 2013, 15:11 GMT)

This tour was unnecessary. India needed some time to enjoy and digest the CT victory before going back to cricket. I think the hunger to win is lacking. Even as a fan, this series looks unimportant to me unless new players are tried.

Posted by Temuzin on (July 3, 2013, 15:10 GMT)

Agreed with author but that intent comes from a fearless leader who cajoles his players to go play fearless irrespective of the results. Dhoni was missed big time. Team looked directionless and instructionless resulted in this big defeat. MSD is irreplaceable at the moment. A few youngsters needed to be coached and groomed by MSD as future captains. Virat needs to study Dhoni and his mindset to succeed without him.

Posted by somethingdifferent on (July 3, 2013, 14:43 GMT)

Why don't we accept the fact that Kohli is not groomed / matured enough to be the captain yet. Dropping B Kumar and playing Shammi was huge blunder, not bowling Ashwin till 20 overs was another mistake. And not going all out from the word go while batting was the biggest mistake. Fletcher will need to be more proactive without MSD.

Posted by   on (July 3, 2013, 14:21 GMT)

Repeat Hobart again? There is an old saying "No Christmas everyday".

Posted by praful_cric on (July 3, 2013, 13:32 GMT)

Superb article Akash. I wish the team could read that.

And hopefully all the IPL mouthed commentators should also have noticed these things.

Posted by aativas on (July 3, 2013, 12:12 GMT)

Good that someone remembered Sachin and Sehwag. I know, they are not going to be back ....but some people tend to treat them as a burden .. which was not the case mostly!

Posted by NALINWIJ on (July 3, 2013, 12:11 GMT)

Hobart is a feathertop where anyone can get 6 runs an over and accelerate. This pitch needs getting used to before accelerating. Sri Lanka's 348 here is like 450 in Hobart and India needed a freakish effort like Hobart to win this one. SL and India have had even contests until Dhoni and Kohli combined. The champions trophy meant that India has moved on from the older brigade but their poor finishing sometimes raises it's ugly head. This is a learning experience for Kohli.

Posted by   on (July 3, 2013, 11:45 GMT)

It was nothing but Dhoni's absence as a leader and a player which Virat Kohli was missing yesterday which has affected her batting also due to lot of pressure during Sri Lankan Innings of 348 runs.It was clearly visible by our fielding as our players were not feeling as confident as iin the presence Dhoni as a captain.

Posted by game_mayank1983 on (July 3, 2013, 11:11 GMT)

Completely agree. It was frustrating to see the batsmen leaving balls when they are chasing 350.. I just hope this loss serves as a shock to them..

Posted by   on (July 3, 2013, 11:04 GMT)

Comparing Sachin and Shewag with some newcomers is absolutely not right. What I personally feel is that whenever India visit West Indies they are performing poorly, all the worst records come to India only when they visit West Indies. I wonder why they perform so badly when they tour West Indies. In the past too in the World Cup India was eliminated in the first round. Indian batting let them down so badly that India was hardly be able to cross 200 runs. Bowlers have definitely done very badly but batsmen should have atleast tried to reach a score of 250 or so. In this series players like Gambhir or sehwag should be there instead of Murali Vijay. I hope India play better cricket in next two games.

Posted by   on (July 3, 2013, 10:42 GMT)

SL and WI players have played just as much cricket as the Indians coz almost all of them played IPL as well... so the excuse the Indians have played too much cricket does not hold.

Posted by   on (July 3, 2013, 10:25 GMT)

Dear Akash, "hobarts" don't happen always :)

Posted by cricket_slcsupport on (July 3, 2013, 10:23 GMT)

I'm a Lankan fan, yes, SL did a wonderful job yesterday. Please give a break to the Indian team, they are playing too much cricket, they are not machines to go out and perform always. They just won a major ICC tournament. Just a couple of losses and the slandering have started from the fan's. Please give these guys a break. These guys need a break.

Posted by   on (July 3, 2013, 9:56 GMT)

india was riding their luck in champions trophy.........and now there true colors are on the show....... how pathetic indian team is performing in this tri-series........

Posted by ODI_BestFormOfCricket on (July 3, 2013, 9:56 GMT)

@jimbond I never said that vijay is good replacement for sehwag or gambhir, what i am insisting is he deserves few more chances. It takes rohit almost 70 odd innings to somehow consolidate his position in indian team, yet not 100% guaranteed for coming series. And how could you say rohit deserving more, to find who & drawing comparison b/w two, vijay has to play atleast 20 more odi.

Posted by   on (July 3, 2013, 9:34 GMT)

Dhoni's absence is already making its mark. Such a void to fill. Hope we can bounce back and win the next two with at least 1 BP. Tough!!

Posted by   on (July 3, 2013, 9:29 GMT)

i think we missed need to have someone who can capable of planning the innings.obviously we didn't hav the dhonis incomparable presence.In those situations we will miss him again..

Posted by mark2011 on (July 3, 2013, 9:12 GMT)

Dont forget that Horbart chase was done when there was 20 overs power play. bowling and batting power play each 5 overs and fisrt 10 ovrs compulsury PP. so that clearly different situattion .but here its again 15 overs, the rules arent same then n now... simply you look at final result of that match and try to repeat here in WI is foolish thinking. its clear how much this defeat has hurt poor champs....bcos they were so confident that loosing to WI was only 1 off day.. but suddenly they found 2nd one also....bit difficult to face though...

Posted by mark2011 on (July 3, 2013, 9:03 GMT)

this shows India over ambitious state , thinking that every time they can repeat hobart drama.. but that's not in reality.. may be this article good for hugely hurt India for consolation. if you are fair in commenting you shuld think what was the feeling of SL team then and how you hails your own and degrade SL. so this is the correct response to that match from SL....

Posted by Rajeshj on (July 3, 2013, 8:36 GMT)

Well, this is not a Hobart pitch and conceding 350 runs was a real crime... the bowlers looked indifferent from the one that played a couple of days ago with WI.. they bowled faulty lines... did not appear for a second to have any sort of plan for any batsmen.. communication between Kohli and bowlers were not too great.. I think Kohli was not complemented effectively by bowlers.. I think Ishant has to be rolled out of the team.. he and Rohit had been given umpteen chances without much results.. Umesh Yadav is spraying across line in all matches till now.. blaming the one dropped catch by Vijay and for scoring 30 runs is a bit too far.. rather than the batting lineup, I would say change the bowling lineup for a start...

Posted by jimbond on (July 3, 2013, 8:20 GMT)

@palavadisuresh: Rohit Sharma is possibly more deserving of the two because he has been able to play in more testing conditions, which is a must for an opener. Even if an opener doesnt get a hundred, if he has helped remove the shine from the ball, it is good enough- especiallly if you have good batsmen down the order. Yesterday, he could not protect the middle order from the ball. This is why even Akash Chopra's innings' in Australia were so valuable, as he and sehwag set up a platform which allowed later batsmen to consolidate. Vijay may be good as a backup, but certainly not as good as a Sehwag or even a Gambhir.

Posted by sourav619 on (July 3, 2013, 8:13 GMT)

good match for srilanka after many years watched someone bat like jaysuria.Matara mauler was the punisher of indian attack but sadly he is no more playing..and although tharanga played his innings of a lifetime but to level his predecessor,thats difficult and sri lanka should have given kaushal perera the opportunity 2 open..they were reluctant 2 play it safe by opening with jaywardane..they should look 2wards the future like india giving more chances 2 youngsters

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (July 3, 2013, 7:59 GMT)

What people are not understanding is that Hobart was a relatively flat and "subcontinent" like pitch at that time. There was actually hope for India then. Even though only one wicket fell in the Sri Lankan's innings, the new ball had quite some movement and there was also quite some spin. It was much more tougher conditions. In Hobart, India also had the experience of Sehwag, Gambhir, and Tendulkar to give them the start they needed while over here Dhawan, Rohit, and Vijay were clueless into giving a good start for the team

Posted by deoshatwar on (July 3, 2013, 7:59 GMT)

Last time when India travelled to WI after winning a major trophy they seemed slow and jaded. That heralded a series of damning 0-4 results and a home series loss. Hopefully this time the same approach in the Caribbean does not start that sequence all over again.

Posted by bootlicker on (July 3, 2013, 7:58 GMT)

I think most of the people think that India can chase any target like they did it in Horbart. It is only one off incident and it will never come again. India also think that they know how handled Malinga and co. That mentality is the downfall of India.

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (July 3, 2013, 7:50 GMT)

I disagree that 350 is a daunting score. In these days of T20, teams are far more confident of scoring a boundary and 4 singles an over... and scoring at least 50 runs in the last 5 overs. To score a 350 you need 2 people who score really big, scoring at a 100% + strike rate. The tempo of the innings need to be set up-front. Vijay doesn't have the confidence, mental strength or even the ability to lead a charge! A few lofted shots to the boundary does not mean a sustained onslaught. Shikhar, Kohli and Raina are the only ones in the team who can lead such a SUSTAINED onslaught on the opposition. Rohit and Kartik are grafters, who can stick around and score runs! In fact Rohit and Vijay are similar in their batting temperament which explains their high failure rate, when called to perform when needed. Pujara is a gem. India cannot afford to sideline Pujara. In terms of batting competence he's the best in the Indian team by a long shot. He's also gritty, like Gambhir, only better.

Posted by C0l0mb0 on (July 3, 2013, 7:42 GMT)

Hobart? Indians reached just losing 3 wkets. n made 320+ runs within 40 overs. If its possible why cant indians approach every match like that? you need to get out of that shell. Pitches and conditions not same every where. If India can perform like Hobart n if its works, even its 150 runs to get.. let them go like Hobart every day. n you will see the result pretty soon.

Posted by Nmiduna on (July 3, 2013, 7:41 GMT)

aakash may be you should gv some credit to SL openers..especially mahela for how easily he scored his runs..don't always decide on a pitch depending on how the batters played on it..especially when the other team struggled on it!!

Posted by   on (July 3, 2013, 7:41 GMT)

everybody forgot yuvi.he should come 2 replace MSD to boost indian middle order

Posted by Edassery on (July 3, 2013, 7:30 GMT)

Instead of playing meaningless ODI series like this one and forthcoming Zimbabwe tour - that too soon after IPL and Champions Trophy - focus on building talent via stringent training methods and emulating abroad conditions at home itself. With this kind of batting line up, I wonder what they will do in South Africa. Basically nobody in this unit is consistent on any pitch. But does BCCI care? They just need to beef up their purse with maximum number of ODIs and T20s played per year at the cost of country's performance and players' fitness.

Posted by Uppercut07 on (July 3, 2013, 7:29 GMT)

Mr. Chopra, surely u r not suggesting that 'fluke' in Hobart is an actual blueprint? Luck does not do it's magic everyday Mr. Chopra. Next thing u'll be suggesting will be Sehwag and Sachin getting 200s every time they go out there to bat in ODIs! LOL at ur naivety.

Posted by   on (July 3, 2013, 7:28 GMT)

Aakash chopra didnt mean that india would have chased 9/10 times, like hobart game. He just meant the intent from the word 'go' is not there. There is no time for you to stabilise, this game is just like a longer format of T20 version, you need to score constantly. I pity indians, as they are still floating in the champions trophy moon. Please come down to earth, which is more real and think wise of choosing the team.

Posted by Naresh28 on (July 3, 2013, 7:19 GMT)

INDIA lost the game on bowling upfront. Vijay the freshest player dropped a catch which should have been taken. Why were the majority of our fielders wearing SUNSHADES? This affects your sight surely? The sun was not that bright.

Posted by ODI_BestFormOfCricket on (July 3, 2013, 7:13 GMT)

If Rohit sharma deserved more chances to prove (before CT) even after 70 odd odi internationals, why would not vijay. vijay had excellent comeback series against australia, played 12 matches overall and only one comeback odi yesterday, scored 31 runs. I know he dropped catch but after that aus series he deserves few more chances to prove in odi. Without giving enough chances how could you vijay bashers say he is not suited for odi's. Think wisely before post anything.

Posted by   on (July 3, 2013, 7:09 GMT)

Hobart Blueprint-- what rubbish !! The body language of the indian team in the first half clearly showed they cannot win this match. The par score was 240-250 on this wicket. People are blaming lack of intent shown by the batsmen... cant they see that they were not able to time the ball... ball was consistently stopping, hitting the low ends of the bats of Rohit and Karthik. All I can say is not many teams consistently play with tremendous intensity for loner periods of time. The cramped international schedule, BCCIs snob attitude (they care more abt making money) are the deeper inherent causes of this. Wont be surprised if India loses against WI on friday to get knocked out. And yes, there is another Zimbabwe tour coming up...

Posted by ODI_BestFormOfCricket on (July 3, 2013, 6:52 GMT)

It's not totally unexpected, but the margin is unexpected especially after winning CT. From now on it is not easy (very very hard) for india to make into finals since WI, SL won with bonus points, so india need to be VERY aggressive to get those 2 bonus points from 2 must win games. Eventhough it is difficult to chase, the approach of both openers was dissappointing. When chasing these huge target openers should have score atleast 5 or 5.5 if not 7 or 8 rpo in mandatory powerlay. Mediocore bowling, mediocore fielding costs us the match.

I know many of u dont accept, but the reality is ISHANAT SHARAMA will not going to learn anything even if he plays another 5 or 6 years of intl matches. Yadhav should look at his economy rates worst for strike bowler. Vijay always too causal while taking catches, overconfidence.

Posted by yohandf on (July 3, 2013, 6:45 GMT)

Mr Chopra scripted this article under the impression that Ind can chase down such targets atleast 9/10 times . but the reality is that no team cant do it very often . While Hobart chase is a standout one , you should nt expect to do every time even with Sri Lanka . Instead if he addressed indian bowling vows or Tharanga-Mahela batting strategies , it would have been advantageous .

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Aakash Chopra Aakash Chopra is the 245th Indian to represent India in Test cricket. A batsman in the traditional mould, he played 10 Tests for India in 2003-04, and has played over 120 first-class matches. He currently plays for Delhi in the Ranji Trophy; his book Beyond the Blues was an account of the 2007-08 season. Chopra made a formidable opening combination with Virender Sehwag, which was believed to be one of the reasons for India's success in Australia and Pakistan in 2003-04. He is considered one of the best close-in fielders India has produced after Eknath Solkar.
Tournament Results
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India won by 1 wicket (with 2 balls remaining)
India v Sri Lanka at Port of Spain - Jul 9, 2013
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West Indies v Sri Lanka at Port of Spain - Jul 7-8, 2013
Sri Lanka won by 39 runs (D/L method)
West Indies v India at Port of Spain - Jul 5, 2013
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India v Sri Lanka at Kingston - Jul 2, 2013
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