Second new ball did the trick for Ishant and India: Gavaskar

Praising India for the favourable position they find themseleves in against Sri Lanka, former captain Sunil Gavaskar today said that the second new ball made Ishant Sharma turn it around for the visitors in the ongoing second cricket Test here.

Pace spearhead Ishant (2-68) picked the all-important wickets of Lahiru Thirimanne (62) and Dinesh Chandimal (11) to help India gain a sizeable 87-run first-innings lead after packing Sri Lanka for 306.

The visitors then ended Day 3 on 70 for one, to gain an overall lead of 157. Gavaskar was all praise for the bowling show led by Amit Mishra (4-43).

“The second new ball was always going to be India’s hope. And that’s what happened when Ishant got rid of Thirimanne, because that is what opened the doors for India. Till then it looked these two were taking Sri lanka closer to the Indian score. In the end those two wickets, of Thirimanne and Chandimal, that actually showed Sri Lanka down and (Amit Mishra) Mishraji joined the party,” Gavskar told NDTV.

“I think they are in a very good position. It would have been better if they would have taken 30-40 runs more lead. But by losing just one wicket by the end of the day, they have given themselves the option to go hell bent for leather tomorrow.

“I think the pitch is playing slowly and is turning and might turn a little bit more on Day 5. It might not be easy to get the 10 Lankan wickets unless you are able to put pressure on them,” he added.

Critics maybe gunning for Ajiinkya Rahane’s failure to perform at the No.3 position but Gavaskar backed the talented youngster to come good very soon.

“I just think that a batsman who is comfortable at No.5 and then coming in at No.3 is a bit difficult. But having seen Ajinkya Rahane making adjustments to his cricket all around the world, he will succeed giving a long time and will make a success of the No.3 spot. Technically and temparamentally he is very good,” the legendary opener said.

“If he is successful then it solves the problem for many in the order though the opening slot is still a problem. If Rahane does well at No.3, it allows Rohit Sharma to bat at 5, a position he is lot comfortable at,” he added.

The cricketer-turned-commentator also urged the pundits to stop analysing Virat Kohli’s leadership skills so early in his career.

“Why do we we make so much of Virat’s captaincy? Look he is into his fourth or fifth Test. He is going to make some mistakes, it’s part of the game. He is learning and look at the way his batting has improved by leaps and bounds because he is such a committed cricketer. Give him a little more time,” he said.