Before the start of play on Day 4 of the Edgbaston Test, India were favourites to win against England, having extended their lead to 257 with seven wickets in hand and no one could have anticipated an England comeback. However, first, a poor batting performance on the fourth day saw India being bundled out for 245 in the second innings and then Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow played unbeaten knocks of 142 and 114 respectively as England chased down 378 to win the rescheduled fifth Test by seven wickets. As a result, the series that got underway last year, finished as 2-2.
Root and Bairstow did not take long before finishing the match off on Day 5 and the “Baz-Ball” brand of cricket was clearly on show. After the game ended, Team India head coach Rahul Dravid addressed a press conference where he talked about the defeat.
“I would say that we controlled the game on three days but maybe, we did not bat that well in the second innings, and in our bowling, we were not able to sustain that intensity and we must give credit to England for the way they played. Root and Bairstow formed a brilliant partnership, we got 2-3 chances but were not able to capitalise. But you need to applaud the opponent,” said Dravid.
“Obviously, it has been disappointing for us. We had a couple of opportunities in South Africa as well, here as well, I just think it is something we need to look that and need to work upon. We have been very good at that in the last couple of years in terms of taking those 20 wickets and win those Test matches but we have not been able to do that in the last couple of months. It could be a variety of factors, it could be just maybe we need to maintain that intensity and maintain that level of fitness or performance right through the Test match,” he added.
Further talking about the batting performances, Dravid said: “We have not batted well as well, but if you look at all the second innings of Test matches overseas this year, the batting has probably been not up to the scratch as well so in both areas, we have started the Test well but have not been able to finish well and yeah, we need to get better with that and certainly improve.”
“The way cricket is going, you do not get time to reflect (laughs). After two days, I will be talking about something else but we will look at it. In every game, you learn and you need to learn. We need to look at why we were not able to bat well in the third innings and then were not able to take wickets in the fourth innings. We need to look at what we can do. After this, the next Test matches are in the sub-continent for this cycle. We will look at this Test as coaches and selectors, we review after every game,” he added.
Talking about England, Dravid said: “Look, I think England played really well. I must admit I did not get to watch much of the England-New Zealand series, we saw parts of it when we were doing our planning and preparation. But, they played well, to chase down the kind of totals they have in all those four Test matches, has been exceptional. They have a couple of batters who are probably in the best form of their lives, they are playing exceptional cricket. I think they are playing really good cricket at the moment, hats off to them.”
“I do not know what Baz Ball is, but the way they have played their cricket, it has been really good. There are not many chases that happen successfully in England, so credit must be given to them. When your players are doing well, you can play positively and you can take the game forward. This was shown by us as well in the first innings when Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja were batting well. It is good for cricket and obviously, it is good for England as well,” he added.
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