Captain Rohit Rajpal changed the doubles combination by pairing Bopanna with Ramkumar instead of the left-handed Divij Sharan, but they lost the crucial match 6-7(2), 6-7(2) to Henri Kontinen and Harri Heliovaara in one hour and 38 minutes.
Coming into the match 0-2 down, the Indians needed to win the doubles contest to stay alive in the tie. Prajnesh Gunneswaran later beat Patrik Niklas-Salminen in the dead fourth rubber 6-3, 7-5 while the fifth match was not played.
India will now have to compete in the Play-offs next year to keep its place in the World Group I.
Heliovaara was considered the most vulnerable of all four players on the court, but raised his game by several notches and created a huge impact on the outcome of the match with his fearless approach.
The Indians, on the contrary, fumbled even when they had the advantage. They were up by a break and had four breakpoints in the eighth game of the second set, but squandered the chances.
After doing all the hard work, the Indians cracked at crucial junctures. Bopanna said the fact that the Finnish players have played together at a higher level made a difference to the match.
“We were playing first time together at this level. In close points, it did make a difference. But we played a great match, considering we were playing for the first time together,” said the 40-year-old.
Bopanna also backed the captain’s call in changing the combination, saying that he and Ramkumar were the right pair for the doubles match.
He also said that India needs to do well in the singles matches if the team has to win ties in the Davis Cup.
“Four points are from singles matches, that is where we need to focus. It has been six years since an Indian singles player has beaten a higher-ranked opponent in Davis Cup,” said Bopanna.
“We need to have a good structure back home and a good junior system. Cricket does well because there is a fantastic structure, so every sport needs something like that. You can’t do it on your own. The Federation and the government have to come together,” he added.