Gautam Gambhir said that Ravindra Jadeja was just milking Sri Lankan bowlers after he scored his century and it is his past performances that have helped him make the big total in Mohali.
Ravindra Jadeja scored a career-best 175 not out during the first Test against Sri Lanka in Mohali and eventually led India to an innings victory with the ball as well but former batter Gautam Gambhir said that the 33-year-old all-rounder may value the half centuries he scored in overseas conditions more. Gambhir said that Jadeja’s innings in Mohali is a culmination of the improved performances he has been putting in with the bat across the world.
“I feel the innings Ravindra Jadeja played in Australia or the knocks he has played outside India, he will get more confidence from that. Stats can be very misleading,” Gambhir said on Star Sports.
“There was a time after the century where he was just milking – Dhananjaya de Silva, (Charith) Asalanka and (Lasith) Embuldeniya were bowling but if you talk about Australia or England, the 40 or 50-run contributions there are probably much more important than this innings,” he said.
Jadeja played a crucial role with bat, ball and in the field in India’s consecutive Test series wins in Australia and in the incomplete Test series in England last year in which India led 2-1 with one match to go.
“These 175 runs are the by-product of how Ravindra Jadeja has batted in overseas conditions. You only see the end result but the lead up to these 175 runs, there has been a lot of effort put in that, he scored runs in very difficult circumstances and conditions and that is why he got a chance at No. 6 or No. 7.
“If he had probably not scored runs in those conditions, the team management might have had the temptation to play someone else, probably Ashwin at No. 7. When you come after scoring runs in such difficult conditions, you get opportunities to improve your stats or your Test record,” said Gambhir.
Gambhir wants India to play senior players together in away conditions
While Ravichandran Ashwin scored 61 off 82 balls, Ravindra Jadeja remained unbeaten on a career-best 175 off 228 balls after which the pair led the way with the ball for India on Day 2.
Both Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin put up all-round performances on Day 2 to put India potentially on their way to an innings victory in their first Test against Sri Lanka. The pair put up 130 runs for the seventh wicket, which turned out to be India’s partnership in an innings in which they had two other three-figure stands and a 90-run stand between Virat Kohli and Hanuma Vihari for the third wicket.
While Ashwin scored 61 off 82 balls, Jadeja remained unbeaten on a career-best 175 off 228 balls. Ashwin then took two wickets while Jadeja got the all-important scalp of Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne to reduce Sri Lanka to 108/4 at the end of the day. Former India batter Gautam Gambhir said that this performance proves that the two star all-rounders deserved to play together more often in away conditions as well.
“I would want to see R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja play together away from home – whether it is South Africa, Australia, New Zealand or England. We say at times that two spinners cannot play together but if you have two such quality spinners and Jadeja can give you quality batting like this at No. 7, then there is no problem in that,” Gambhir said on Star Sports after the day’s play.
“To win a Test match you need to pick 20 wickets. Test cricket is not just the game of the first innings and wherever you go, the ball starts turning in the third or fourth innings.”
Gambhir said that while the pair can give India an “exceptional attack”, he was disappointed by how Ashwin performed during the tour of South Africa earlier this year.
“Ashwin and Jadeja are both bowlers who can bat as well, it can give you an exceptional attack. You can control the game also and give breaks to your fast bowlers as well. Along with that, even if there is a slight help from the pitch, Jadeja and Ashwin can become a lethal combination,” said Gambhir.
“R Ashwin disappointed me a little on the last tour of South Africa because the experience he has and the sort of bowler he is, I would want to see him bowl with an attacking mindset. We have seen two types of Ashwin, the Melbourne spell he bowled was according to me, the best spell by an off-spinner but in South Africa he bowled with an extremely defensive thinking,” he said.