Team India head coach, Rahul Dravid denied the fact that the Indian team couldn’t get more in the first innings of the Hyderabad Test which India eventually lost by 28 runs to England. India managed to score 436 in their first innings and they had a lead of 190 runs also but lost to England as they set them a target of 231 on a tough surface as well.
“I mean, [the pitch was] challenging today, and I wouldn’t be so harsh to judge them [batters] on today. In fact, if anything, I thought we left probably 70 runs on the board in the first innings when conditions were pretty good to bat in on day two. I thought in those kinds of situations, we got ourselves into some good starts and we didn’t really capitalise. We didn’t get 100, we didn’t get somebody getting a really big 100 for us. So in some ways I think I just felt we left those 70-80 runs back in the hut in the first innings,” said Rahul Dravid in a press conference at the end of the match.
However, three Team India batters got out in the eighties whereas three others got out after getting good starts in that innings as well. They still managed to have a good lead courtesy of the lower orders before Ollie Pope smashed an amazing 196 to turn the table. And, Rahul Dravid applauded Pope for his knock.
“We probably shouldn’t have been chasing 232. Truly exceptional innings to get us to chase that amount of runs. Yeah, so I think that, to me, that [Pope’s innings] really was the difference in the game. I think that’s something that set us back he played a lot of high-risk shots but executed them superbly. And that’s incredible, on a wicket like that 196 when nobody else got 50 was a difference in the game,” he again said.
Rahul Dravid again shared that England and Pope’s playing style which was filled with sweeps and reverse-sweeps put the bowlers under pressure that would force Team India to rethink their plans for the rest of the series as well.
“I haven’t seen a better exhibition of sweeping and reverse sweeping in these conditions against that quality of bowling. Having said that, for us now, it’s important that we respond and we come up with some plans and some strategies and see how we can maybe make him play those shots from probably even more difficult lengths. And be even more disciplined and even more meticulous with our execution. Because I thought a little bit our execution went off, not by much. Credit to him. It [execution] was off a little bit, and hopefully in the next test match if we get our execution right, then I hope he [Pope] makes a mistake,” further shared Rahul Dravid.
Meanwhile, Team India had to chase down 231 on the fourth day but they lost seven for 119, with debutant left-arm spinner Tom Hartley claiming a seven-wicket haul as well. Dravid also gave the hint that they might rethink some plans for the rest of the series as well.
“I think using your feet to the left-hand spinner with these kinds of conditions is fraught with risk, probably have to play a little bit more square of the wicket. Having said that, that [also] is a high-risk shot as well. And you know, I thought Ollie Pope did that loosely. I mean, he did play a lot of high-risk shots. And then it came off. But that’s where I think probably in the first innings we could have capitalised a little bit more. I don’t see it as a huge issue. I think when you have a turning track and you have good left-hand spinner who’s able to pitch it in line with the stumps in just sort of in a difficult area it is going to be a challenge. But yeah, I think as the series goes on, I think it’s going to be something that we’re going to have to counter and get better at and develop some plans and strategies around,” Rahul Dravid concluded.