Indian coach Rahul Dravid backed the young Indian side to make a comeback in the third T2OI in Rajkot after a below-par outing in Pune on Thursday, January 5.
The Men in Blue struggled for consistency all through the game and lost the second clash by 16 runs, giving Sri Lanka their first win in 12 matches on Indian soil in the shortest format.
India conceded 206 runs in the first innings after opting to field first, a move that seemed to have backfired on a ground where batting first has been producing favourable results.
However, in the post-match press conference, the Indian coach backed the decision and said, "The amount of dew there was at the back-end, it's just that we lost a few wickets in the chase. If we had a few wickets in hand, I think we would have gotten close."
"You cannot go on past history. It looked like a really good wicket, to be honest, and it stayed a good wicket right through. It did a little bit for the fast bowlers if you pitched it in the right areas with the new ball. But other than that, I thought it was a good wicket. And even though we lost that many wickets, we ran them really close," he further added.
"Nobody wants to bowl no-balls in any format of the game and especially in the T20 format, they can hurt you. But if you look at this team, there are a lot of youngsters, especially in our bowling attack. They will have games like this at times. We need to be patient and understand that things like this can happen," he said.
"Of course, they are improving, and we keep trying to help them technically with whatever we can and creating the right environment for them to be able to get the best out of their skills. The good thing is a lot of the focus this year is going to be on the 50-over World Cup and the World Test Championship. The T20 games give us an opportunity to try out a lot of these younger guys and just back and support them," he further added.
The former Indian skipper heaped praises on the southpaw and said, "Axar's batting has come up leaps and bounds. We always knew his quality with the ball, and it was just about developing his batting. He has been with the team for more than a year now and it's an area of his game that we have identified. We know that it's important for us to have that," he said.
"In whatever opportunities Axar has got, especially with injuries forcing Jadeja out of a lot of cricket recently, he hasn't let us down. That's a really good sign for us, to have people like him, to have people like Washington Sundar, who unfortunately is not getting a game. And then, Jadeja coming back gives us a nice little spin-bowling allrounder area," he concluded.
With the series 1-1, the two sides will lock horns on Saturday, January 6, at the Saurashtra Cricket Association stadium in Rajkot.