Hambantota, Jul 25: So, who is to blame for India's defeat in the second One Day International against Sri Lanka on Tuesday? The answer is simple. It is the pitch. This is what India captain MS Dhoni has said.
Indian batting was blown away by Sri Lankan bowlers led by Thisara Perera and Angelo Mathews at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium. India could muster only 138 runs in 33.3 overs. Sri Lanka strolled to victory by nine wickets, completing the demolition act in just 19.5 overs.
When Dhoni was asked about the match, this is what he had to say.
"The pitch was next to the wicket we played on last time but it behaved in a completely different way," Dhoni said.
In the first ODI, at the same ground, India posted a mammoth 314/6 in 50 overs. There was a century from Virat Kohli and a 96 from Virender Sehwag.
"Initially the wicket was slightly on the slower side. Once Virat (Kohli) got out, we lost a couple of more wickets very quickly," Dhoni added.
"Before the batsmen could assess the wicket, we lost two wickets played on. I thought after that it was too much for batsmen like Irfan (Pathan) and (Ravichandran) Ashwin to come in and take us out of trouble," the wicketkeeper-batsman explained.
"Probably a touch slower; there were quite a few good balls as well. We bowled in good areas, created pressure, maybe a couple of bad shots as well, but I will take that any day. The important thing with the Indian batting line-up is picking up wickets and that's the only way we can control things and that is what we did today," he said.
Dhoni also did not agree that his batsmen played bad shots.
It is difficult to decide who is right. Jayawardene or Dhoni? Let us move to Colombo now for the next game on Saturday, July 28. How will the pitch be at the R Premadasa Stadium? We shall find out in three days' time.