New Delhi: India's massive 266-run Test defeat to England drew widespread condemnation on Friday with former captain Sunil Gavaskar accusing Mahendra Singh Dhoni's team of "abject surrender" in Southampton. "To lose this Test even before lunch on the final day showed zero resistance whatsoever," Gavaskar told the NDTV news channel.
"There was no fight and that is a disappointing aspect," added the former record-breaking opening batsman, who is now a television commentator. "India's loss was an abject surrender." The result allowed the hosts to record their first win in 11 Tests and level the five-match series 1-1 after they had conceded the lead in the previous Test at Lord's.
Gavaskar said the "sloppy" display by Dhoni's tourists had given England the chance to overcome the morale-sapping loss at Lord's. "India had England on the ropes at Lord's," he said. "I don't know what they did in the five intervening days before the game but they were sloppy on the field at Southampton. "This has been the problem with the Indian team since the 1930s -- the complacency."
The Indian Express said the sudden turnaround in the series left India with a lot of questions heading into the fourth Test at Manchester which begins on August 7. "One Test match can make a lot of difference," the paper wrote. "After the Lord's win, India were on a high. But after Southampton, the team is posed with plenty of problems, while England have a problem of plenty."
Former captain Sourav Ganguly said he was disappointed that Indian batsmen, renowned for playing spin well, allowed England off-spinner Moeen Ali to claim six wickets in the second innings. Ganguly also called for the inclusion of opening batsman Gautam Gambhir in place of the struggling Shikhar Dhawan and wanted fast bowler Varun Aaron to be given a chance.
"The team needs fresher ideas at the top and Gambhir must be brought in," he said. "Aaron has no experience of playing in England, but he needs to be given a chance. A bit more pace and you never know." Ganguly was, however, confident India will bounce back in the next Test, saying England were "still vulnerable".