Birmingham, July 5 – India head coach Rahul Dravid admitted that the side hasn’t been able to pick 20 wickets and consequently go on to win overseas Tests in last few months in the wake of the visitors being unable to defend 378 against England at Edgbaston on Tuesday.
Set 378 to win by India, England chased down the total, which is also their highest fourth-innings chase in Test cricket, with seven wickets in hand as Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow notched up unbeaten knocks of 142 and 114 respectively to finish the match 30 minutes before lunch on day five.
It also means that India lost out on a chance to win the series and Pataudi Trophy, also marking a hat-trick of them being unable to defend totals in overseas Tests after failing to defend 240 and 212 against South Africa at Johannesburg and Cape Town earlier this year though they did defend 305 against the Proteas at Centurion.
“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 probably work upon. We have been very good at that in the last couple of years in terms of being able to take those 20 wickets and win those (overseas) Test matches.”
“But we haven’t 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,” said Dravid in the post-match press conference.
Apart from the bowlers not producing their best efforts in defence of 378, India’s second innings total of 245 also played a role in them not getting the lead of 400 runs. On day four, India lost last seven wickets for 120 runs in 36 overs, something which Dravid pointed out.
“We have not batted well as well, but if you look at all the third innings of Test matches overseas this year and this one as well, the batting has probably been not up to the scratch as well. So in both areas, we have started the Test matches well but have not been able to finish well and we need to get better with that and certainly need to improve.”
India went into the match with a combination which gave them the 2-1 lead last year – a four-man pace attack of captain Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur apart from left-arm spin of Ravindra Jadeja. The questions on non-inclusion of ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin were laid to rest by Dravid’s view on the Edgbaston pitch not having much for spinners to work with.
“I think you can always look in the hindsight on things, look at the combinations of your team. I think Shardul (Thakur) has done a good job for us in these games. It is not easy to leave someone like Ash (Ashwin) out in a Test match. But having said that, when we had looked at the wicket on the first day, it had a pretty good even covering of grass. We felt there was enough in the wicket for the fast-bowlers.”
“Going into the last day, the wicket has not really spun. Whether it was Jack Leach or Ravindra Jadeja, who bowled through the Test match, if anything because maybe the weather played a part over the first three days, there wasn’t long phases of sun but the wicket did not break up as we might have expected it to.
“It did not spin as much as we expected, it is easy to look back at the fifth day and say it would have been nice to have second spinner in the fourth innings. But it did not turn enough to maybe justify that. I think we accept that they played really well. We could have just hit the areas a little bit better in the fourth innings,” concluded Dravid.