Can't rely on just boundaries, rotating strike is crucial on slow tracks: Laxman

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Chennai, Apr 18 (PTI) Sunrisers Hyderabad mentor VVS Laxman rued that his batsmen could not rotate the strike when getting boundaries was tough against Mumbai Indians bowlers on a tough Chepuk wicket.

Chasing a modest 151-run target, SRH could manage only 137 in 19.4 overs as their batsmen struggled to score runs in the middle overs on Saturday.

'That's (taking singles and twos) a very important skill especially on these kind of wickets because it is not easy to hit through the line. You can't rely on just boundaries and sixes,' Laxman said at the post-match press conference.

'It's very important to keep the dot-ball percentage low, and the only way you can do it is by manipulating the field by rotating the strike. That is one aspect of the game which is very important on these kind of wickets. 'Unfortunately we were not able to do that especially when Rahul Chahar was bowling and even when other fast bowlers were bowling in the middle overs.' Laxman said as the ball got old in the second half of the innings, playing aggressive was challenging. He also stressed the importance of using the powerplay restrictions.

'The ball was just stopping on the wicket and it is two-paced. And also the spinners are extracting turn along with bounce. That is one of the aspects we definitely discussed.

'If you see the way Jonny Bairstow and David Warner capitalised on the powerplay, that will be very important going forward especially when you are playing on slow tracks like what we are seeing in Chennai.

'To use the new ball, to use the Powerplay restriction (is key), so that you put the other batsmen who are coming in later under less pressure,' he said.

Laxman also spoke about the importance of one set batsman playing deep into the innings.

'It is quite difficult for a newcomer to get used to the surface straightaway especially when the asking rate is climbing up. The first 10 overs, the way you show your positive and aggressive intent, will help the second half of the innings,' he added.

Asked if struggling Manish Pandey could be demoted in the batting order, Laxman did not give a direct answer.

'We have been flexible with our batting order. Even today we made changes, we had Virat Singh and Abhishek Sharma, two left-hand batters, to counter the Mumbai spinners.

'We have got some days before the next game, and we will definitely go back to the drawing board to work out the strategy to get a win under our belt and we will look at what the best combination and batting order is.' He said left-arm pacer T Natarajan had to miss out because of a niggle.

'Unfortunately, Natarajan had a niggle in his left knee and that's why he was ruled out and that's why we went with Khaleel Ahmed. We are going to assess the condition of Natarajan.

'I was very impressed with the way Khaleel bowled. In his first game of the season, he assessed the conditions really well and used a lot of his variations along with extracting a lot of pace and bounce off the surface. So a lot of positives [to take] for SRH from the way Khaleel Ahmed bowled,' Laxman signed off. PTI SS AT AT