Galle loss taught us a lot, says Shastri

'Team keen come out strong in Colombo'

Galle loss taught us a lot, says Shastri

Team director Ravi Shastri called for patience as India prepared to face Sri Lanka in the second Test after suffering a bruising 63-run defeat in the opening match, one they dominated for the better part.

The 53-year-old, speaking to the media on Monday, backed the team to turn things around in the second game come Thursday, and said they will continue to play aggressive cricket. Excerpts.

How is the mood like after suffering such a heart-breaking loss?

It wasn’t good and we didn’t leave the dressing room for a good hour and a half because everybody was hurting. But there was a good honest discussion. And like you mentioned, when you win six sessions, you lose two sessions and you are 1-0 down, there is a lot to take away but there is a lot to learn as well. We are not skirting behind any problem, there are no excuses. We discussed everything out there threadbare and it’s for us now to come out as a team and learn from what went wrong in that Test match.

Over the last year and a half, one or two poor sessions have cost us the match. Your thoughts...

I wish I can answer it now. Like I said about being tentative and conservative on that last day when you should have been looking to rotate the strike, not allowing the bowlers to settle down. You are not saying go hell for leather, but be smart. We were not and we have to learn from this. When you lose a Test like this, it hurts you. At the end of it it hurts you more than some of the others because you have dominated the Test for nearly 70 to 80 per cent. So at times you learn from this kind of result quicker than any other kind of result. Hopefully you will see it in the next few days.

Why is the current crop struggling against spinners, be it Moeen Ali in England or here?

I wish they had attacked on the last day and not defended. If they had attacked on the last day or been a little more positive – I am not saying attacked means four, six but been busy, played with intent — it would have been a different ball game. With Moeen Ali we were over-aggressive but here we were too conservative and defensive. Balance is achieved by being busy, by being positive. By being positive, it doesn’t mean you are negative. If the defence is with intent, it’s a sign of being positive as well.

Calling upon Stuart Binny, does it mean that we are a batsmen short?

It does take time to get to the right combination. With this Indian team, with this kind of bowling attack, I think an all-rounder is a must. I would say, more a batting all-rounder. It’s a must. When you play in these conditions, you might not need five bowlers but four and a half. I think it’s important to get the right balance. Stuart is coming off a brilliant performance in Zimbabwe. I think whenever he has got an opportunity, he has done a pretty decent job. I think he did a very decent job in  England too.

Don’t you think the win would have given the Sri Lankans a lot of confidence?

It would give them confidence but not far too much. They know which team dominated that Test. It was individual brilliance from (Dinesh) Chandimal and (Rangana) Herath. I think Chandimal’s was an outstanding innings. Just for sheer bravado, courage and audacity, you had to give him 100 out of 100. Let’s hope lightning doesn’t strike twice.

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