India batting coach Sanjay Bangar on Sunday admitted that the team management would like to see the tail-enders to show a bit more application in their batting, after yet another late collapse.
India lost their last four wickets for as many runs in their second innings of the Adelaide Test against Australia, falling from 303/6 to 307 all out, which set the hosts a target of 323 to win.
India’s late collapse gave Australia a glimmer of hope as they came out to bat in the fourth innings. However, they were at 104/4 at stumps on day four, needing another 219 for an unlikely victory with their fate resting on the shoulders of Shaun Marsh, who was not out 31, and local boy Travis Head who remained unbeaten on 11.
Bangar said the team was expecting “at least 25 runs” from the tail-enders, which would have stretched Australia’s target beyond 350. India’s frail lower order was also one of the many reasons they lost the Test series in England earlier this year.
“That is an area we are continuously looking to improve,” Bangar told reporters in the press conference after day four. “We are just hoping numbers nine, 10, and 11 show a bit more application than what they did today.”
Bangar, however, defended India’s wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant’s no-holds-barred approach to batting. The 21-year-old scored a quick-fire 28 runs off 16 balls before holing out to deep cover.
“You will be surprised to know that he is a pretty mature player,” Bangar said. “In one of the Test matches he played at home against the West Indies, he played differently. It’s not that he can only play his shots. He has another aspect to his game. For somebody who is starting his career, that’s an exciting prospect to have.”
Bangar added, “When he walked in, we are 260-odd [248/5]. Immediately he released the pressure. He gave us those 30-35 quick runs. Once he had put us in that position, tactically he could have done better. But you don’t want to take that fearlessness away from any player. You need to have a mix of caution and aggression and with time he will develop that.”
Bangar also praised Ajinkya Rahane, who chose to walk out to bat late on day three instead of sending a nightwatchman. The Mumbai batsman ended up making a crucial 70 in the second innings. “He was pretty keen to go out and be there in the middle,” Bangar said.
“As far as his form goes, he got a score in the West Indies series. Even in the previous UK tour, he got scores in the third, fourth and fifth games. It’s just that the hundred, the big knock that we are expecting...which he is also working hard towards, it’s not coming. It’s not about individual landmarks. Whenever he has played the [big] innings, he generally puts the team in a good position,” Bangar added.