Nagpur: Hailing India's incredible series win against the No.1 Test side South Africa, former captain Sunil Gavaskar on Friday said the home team's turnaround in the longer-format after the loss in ODIs and T20s speaks volumes about the character of the Virat Kohli-led side.
India, who lost the T20s 0-2 and ODIs 2-3, defeated South Africa by 124 runs to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series.
"Extremely significant win, because they lost the T20 series as well as the one-day series. Therefore to recover, to pick themselves up and beat the No.1 Test team in such a comprehensive manner speaks volumes about the character of this team. And the way they have been led and managed, speaks volumes of the fact that they wanted so badly to turn the tables against South Africa," Gavaskar told NDTV.
Ravichandran Ashwin, who bagged a career-best 7-66 to spin India to victory in under three days, was the hero with a 12-wicket match-haul. Asked about Ashwin's world class bowling, Gavaskar lavished praise on the ace spinner.
"You took the words from my mouth, there is absolutely no question. Look at the way he set AB de Villiers up for the dismissal today. It was terrific bowling. I mean it was something that was a joy to watch," he reacted on Ashwin's world class tag.
For the Hashim Amla's South Africa it was a disappointing loss, which was their first in away series after nine years.
Gavaskar opined that the era of one-team dominance was over.
"A lot of Test teams are having similar standards and on a given time they will not be able to dominate. The dominance of one team is pretty much gone. For one or two years one team might dominate but for 9 years or 18 years, like the West Indies did, so those years' of dominance will be rarely seen now," he said.
Though Gavaskar has been open in his defence of Indian pitches, which have seen matches finish in three days, the batting legend agreed with Rahul Dravid's remark on the quality -- or the lack of it -- of domestic pitches for Ranji games.
"I agree whole heartedly with what Rahul Dravid is saying and my honest advice to all those state associations who are only being short-sighted to just think about their teams getting the points, qualifying for the Ranji Trophy and are they helping Indian cricket.
"That's what the Under-19 coach Rahul Dravid has very correctly raised. At the Test level you can prepare the kind of wicket that you feel is good for your team, but at the first-class level I am not sure that's great for Indian cricket," he said.
If the spinners rule the roost in the three Tests gone by, the batsmen have been at the receiving end of some flak with big players from both the sides coming a cropper.
Gavaskar also said that the batting from both the sides was below par.
"For all the three Test matches that we have seen the batting for both the teams has been below-par. And both the teams have got world class batsmen. If you see the dismissals of all the players, there has been very seldom a bowler who has bowled an unplayable delivery.
"Most times the bastmen have picked the wrong ball to hit and got themselves out. So it's a worry not just for the South African batsmen, but for the Indians as will," said the former opener.
Gavaskar also blamed the modern batsmen for bringing their limited-overs approach to Test cricket.
"You certainly don't want Test matches ending in draws, unless ofcourse they are ending in draws where the team batting fourth wins with just a few overs left or saves a match the it becomes an exciting Test match. But what has happened over the years that batsmen have played a lot of T20 cricket, the ability to build an innings and score that 250-300 over a day and day-and-a-half is now getting lesser and lesser.
"That is the reason that whenever the ball starts doing a little bit, the batsmen want to counter-attack and that's not always easy. But that skill is eroding just a little bit," he said.
He once again reiterated the point that there were no demons in the pitch with Amla (39) and Du Plessis (39) stitching a fifth-wicket 72-run stand.
"Yes, Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis proved it on Day 3 that there are no demons in the pitch. With good technique, great determination and playing low particularly on Indian pitches, they showed there were no demons in the pitch," he said.