New Delhi: Former India skipper, Sourav Ganguly has some encouraging words for the Indian team touring Australia and believes that they can still square the series despite losing the first two Tests matches in contrasting fashions.
“Man to man, India are a much gifted and talented side and we have wasted an opportunity to beat Australia in Australia. India are a quality side and I am optimistic,” a leading cricket website quoted Ganguly.
India lost the series opener in Adelaide on the last day by 48 runs, chasing an improbable victory. Playing under stand-in-skipper Virat Kohli, the young Indian team's performance won many hearts. Besides his impressive leadership skills, the Delhiite also scored back-to-back centuries which prompted many to hail him as the next captain.
However, India failed to keep up the momentum in the second Test despite the return of regular skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The skipper himself failed to performed and so thus his deputy in Kohli, who was involved in a dressing room duel with Delhi state-mate Shikhar Dhawan on Day 4 of the match.
Known for his astute reading of the game, Ganguly also said that India gifted the match to the hosts. India, batting first in Gabba, made a strong start to the match by posting 408 runs despite a late batting collapse.
Then, the Aussies who were in their own troubles following the injury relapse to skipper Michael Clarke, responded in similar fashion and took a 97-run first innings lead. Stand-in-skipper Steven Smith, in company with an inspired lower-order batting line-up, punished Indian bowlers for their erratic performance.
"India had things under control but lost key moments and finished on the losing side. Two sessions, the morning of the second and third days, completely changed the tide against India. Deep down they will know that they gifted the match to Australia," Ganguly lamented.
In the same breathe, he also heaped praise to the young Aussie skipper. "It's not easy to replace Michael Clarke and to score a hundred on debut as captain and when Australia were in trouble. This speaks volumes of the man's capability and I am not surprised that Brad Haddin and Ryan Harris feel he is the man to lead Australia in all formats," he said.