Batting legend skipper Sunil Gavaskar has blamed the on-field umpiring for India's loss to New Zealand in the Auckland Test on the fourth day. India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane were out to decisions that could have gone either way. Dhoni was out bowled to a short-of-length ball from Neil Wagner that was close to a foot-fault no-ball from the left-armer. Dhawan was caught behind as he looked to avoid a snorter from Wagner while the replays couldn't verify for sure that the ball had taken a glove on the way to the keeper. Rahane was adjudged LBW to Trent Boult but the umpire failed to sight an inside edge onto the pads.
"Umpiring was poor and the decision that hurt India the most was of Shikhar Dhawan's. He was playing well and he looked good for a bigger score. It was definitely a big blow for India that cost them dearly. Dhoni's was a close call but these things happen in cricket and you have to live with it," Gavaskar said. (Scorecard | Match report | Day 4 highlights | Day 5 in pics)
The 64-year-old former Test skipper was pleased with the way India fought back in the second innings. Chasing a record target of 407, India put up a spirited show before going down by 40 runs. India were reduced to 96 for two before Shikhar Dhawan (115) and Virat Kohli (67) put on 126-run stand for the third wicket to bring the visitors back in the game. But New Zealand struck back with three crucial wickets including century-maker Shikhar Dhawan to keep the first Test against India evenly poised on the fourth day Sunday. (Despite loss, Dhoni says he has mixed emotions)
"It was one of the better run chases by India on foreign soil that I have seen. I am pleased with the way batted in the fourth innings on a worn out wicket," Gavaskar tol NDTV in an exclusive chat from Auckland on Sunday.
Gavaskar was also impressed with India's bowlers but advised batsmen to work harder on their game. "Bowlers did a very good job and brought India back in the game. But I think batsmen need to put their heads down and apply themselves a little bit more," he said. (Also read: Stats - New Zealand defeat India in a Test after 14 years)
Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja belted 54 in under seven overs before Trent Boult ended left-hander's 26-run knock off 21 deliveries. The NDTV expert said that Jadeja will learn with experience. "I suppose it will come with experience for Jadeja to bat conservatively. He is relatively new and the more he plays better it is for him to bat under pressure," he said. (Related: Respect for India makes win more special, says McCullum)