Will continue aggressive cricket: Shastri

Colombo, Aug 17 (IANS) Their new-found ‘aggressive’ style did not pay too much dividend in the opening Test defeat to Sri Lanka, but Team India director Ravi Shastri asserted on Monday that the visitors will continue with the same approach.

The Indians snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in the first Test at Galle. They had taken a 192-run lead in the first innings before capitulating to an embarrassing 63-run defeat on the fourth day to hand the hosts a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Shastri, however, opined that his wards will continue their efforts to play attacking cricket in the second Test which starts at the P Sara Oval here on August 20.

“Let’s hope lightning doesn’t strike twice, because we will not change our style of play. Our mindset will be the same. But to close the deal you have to walk the distance and we made that mistake in the first Test,” Shastri told media persons here.

“They are getting closer and for this team, it is a case of getting one on board. Then it will be the start of many.”

Set a target of 176 runs in their second inings of the Galle Test, the Indian batsmen seemed unable to handle the guiles of Lanakn left-arm spinner Rangana Herath who turned the match on its head with figures of 7-48.

But Shastri insisted that his confidence in the players is unshakeable.

“It was not a question of buckling under pressure. They go out with intent. The endeavour of this team is to play fearless cricket that comes with mindset. These boys have enough talent,” he stated.

“I am sure they must have thought after the match why I didn’t play this shot, why I didn’t play in this manner.”

However, the former India captain admitted that the defeat did prompt some soul searching in the Indian dressing room.

“I can tell you the mood in the dressing room wasn’t good. We didn’t leave for a hour and a half because everyone was hurting badly, and there was a good, honest discussion,” the 53-year-old said.

“When you win six sessions and you lose two sessions, but still go down 1-0 in the series, there’s a lot to take away from that match. There’s a lot to learn from it as well. We are not skirting behind any problems and there are no excuses. It is for us now to come out as a team and learn what went wrong in that Test,” he added.

“When you lose a Test like this, it hurts you more than some others. You were ahead in the match and you lost it. So you learn from these kind of matches more than others and hopefully you will see it in the next few days.”

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