Rahul Dravid has acknowledged that India made too many mistakes with the bat and ball in the final Test at Edgbaston and England clearly deserved the positive result they achieved. He further praised the opposition’s fearless batting approach before discussing India’s upcoming matches.
India bottled their 2-1 series lead against England on Tuesday after coming down to their ravenous batting. The fixture, incidentally, saw revamped leaders for both teams compared to the first four Tests, as both the hosts and visitors had new captains and head coaches. However, while the duo of Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes has managed to secure a fourth Test win on the trot, this was Rahul Dravid’s third successive loss overseas. The Indian coach stated last year was a completely different scenario, but that doesn’t excuse his team for losing.
“I don’t want to make excuses about it. I wasn’t part of the team then. India was on a roll at that stage. England were probably in a slightly different situation at that point of time. But they have come here on the back of three consecutive wins against New Zealand. We have had a long gap in between Test cricket, but no excuses," he admitted in the post match press conference.
England looked under pressure for the first half of the Test match, but at no point did they seem to have lost a shot at victory. Eventually, a clinical bowling and batting performance on the last two days saw them sail through comfortably.
“They played well over the five days. We had our opportunities, we played well over the first three days. We couldn’t maintain that. That’s why Test cricket is hard. And that’s why Test cricket means that you have got to be able to keep putting those performances right through the five days. We were not able to do that and they did that better than us and they deserved to win this Test match," Dravid added.
The record run chase of 378 for England was led by the prolific duo of Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow. While the former’s unbeaten 142 was his third century in the last four games, Bairstow registered his fourth hundred in the last three encounters. Against India, he scored in triple figures in both innings to be adjudged man of the match, earning the plaudits of Dravid.
“They have a couple of batters who are probably in the best form of their lives and are playing exceptional cricket. It’s not easy to have that sort of partnership in the fourth innings of a Test match. I think they are playing really good cricket at the moment, hats off to them," the Indian head coach expressed.
Earlier this year, India had also lost the series in South Africa 2-1, struggling to set high targets and then keep the opposition from chasing them down. However, Dravid remarked that for the moment the focus in Tests will shift back to much familiar conditions. In red ball cricket, India are next scheduled to host Australia for four Tests before traveling to Bangladesh for a two-match series.
“After this, we don’t know the schedule of where we will be able to play overseas. The next six Test matches are in the sub-continent for this cycle, which we will definitely focus on. We will look at this Test and be with the coaches and selectors for consultation, discussion and review after every game about what we did right, what better could have been done. Hopefully, whenever we go overseas next time, whatever mistakes were done, we will definitely look to improve them," he concluded on the matter.