Former skipper Sunil Gavaskar slammed India for showing "zero resistance" in their defeat in the third Test against England in Southampton on Thursday and said he felt disappointed by the complete lack of a fight on a crucial day.
India went down by 266 runs, allowing England to draw level in the five-match series. Mahendra Singh Dhoni had led the visitors to a historic victory at Lord's to take a 1-0 lead, but the former skipper said the advantage had been lost in five days of listless cricket at the Rose Bowl. (India Need Fresh Ideas, Says Ganguly)
India had six wickets standing when play started on the final day, but all of them were lost well before lunch and that left Gavaskar fuming. (India Won't Have Ishant Sharma in Manchester)
"India's loss was an abject surrender. To lose this Test even before lunch showed zero resistance whatsoever. Apart from Ajinkya Rahane, who applied himself, there was no one else who was able to stay put. There was no fight and that is a disappointing aspect," Gavaskar told NDTV.
Rahane, who had resumed the final day with Rohit Sharma, stared at a further 333 runs to win. Victory was of course out of the question, but the two stylish Mumbai batsmen were expected to stall the English attack and battle for a draw. However, James Anderson struck to remove Rohit and skipper Dhoni in quick succession, leaving the visitors with no prospects of saving the blushes.
Gavaskar conceded man-of-the-match Anderson had bowled brilliantly, but blamed the Indian batsmen for their poor technique. He also explained why Rahane was better than other batsmen.
"Rahane waited for the ball, he did not reach out for deliveries outside the off-stump. Yet whenever there were loose deliveries, he took the opportunities to score. When you are faced with a big score, it is important to keep the scoreboard ticking. The others were trying to play with hard hands and reach out to deliveries," Gavaskar said.
Gavaskar felt the shoddy performance at the Rose Bowl had handed England the impetus to bounce back and possibly win the series: "India had England on the ropes with the win at Lord's. I don't know what they did in the five intervening days before the game but they were sloppy on the field on Day 1 and allowed (Alastair) Cook to get away. This has been the problem with the Indian team since the 1930s - the complacency."
The cricketer-turned-commentator said it all started going downhill for India with Murali Vijay's run-out and he called the dismissal "a waste of a wicket." Vijay has been the best top-order batsman for the Indians so far in the series and he could have played a vital role in saving the Test, along with Cheteshwar Pujara, who was also removed on the penultimate day.
India will clash with England again on August 7 in Manchester in the fourth Test.