Saturday, April 13, 2024

“Can’t take the credit away from what we’ve done in those last two years” – Rohit Sharma proud of Team India despite losing WTC final to Australia

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Indian skipper Rohit Sharma credited the Australian batters, especially Travis Head, for playing the way they did in the first innings of the World Test Championship (WTC) final in the Kennington Oval after their 209-run loss on day five.

Sharma also felt the Indian batters didn’t adapt as well as they should have despite the wicket playing well for the most part.

India suffered their second successive defeat in the WTC final, having been beaten by Australia by 210 runs. While India were erratic with the ball in the first innings, they also lacked the runs despite having some of the most experienced players.

Speaking at the post-match presentation, Rohit Sharma felt the counterattack from Head shook them, but praised his side for fighting back well and giving India a chance.

“I thought we started well with winning the toss, putting them to bat in those conditions. We bowled well in the first session and then we let ourselves down with how we bowled. Got to give credit to the Australian batters. Head came in and played really well along with Steven Smith. That just took us off guard a little bit. We knew it was always hard to comeback, but we put up a good show. We fought till the end,” he said.

Sharma remarked that playing two finals is in itself a massive achievement and that India deserve to hold their heads high over it.

“We’ve worked hard for all those four years. Playing two finals is honestly a good achievement for us. But we’d like to go a mile ahead as well. You can’t take the credit away from what we’ve done in those last two years to come here. Great effort from the entire unit,” he said.

“Unfortunate that we couldn’t go on and win the final but we’ll keep our heads high and fight. (Crowd support) It’s been brilliant. They’ve gotten behind the time. I’d like to thank each one of them. They were cheering for every run and every wicket,” he added.

Winning captain Pat Cummins heaped praise on Head and Steve Smith for their massive 285-run partnership in the first innings that gave them 469. The 29-year-old conceded that Head’s ability to put the pressure back on bowlers is remarkable.

“We made the most of it. We were certainly going to bowl. The way Travis and Smithy put on that partnership, gave us the comfort after a nervy morning. He (Head) has been brilliant right throughout this campaign, started with the Ashes a couple of years ago. He just puts the pressure right back on the bowlers and suddenly you are thinking about how to contain runs rather than taking wickets,” he opined.

While Cummins acknowledged their blip on day three and rued letting back in the contest he felt Australia won the key moments.

“We left day one feeling like we were on top of the game,” he added. “When it counted, we played really well. We could have really driven the game, didn’t have our best day and let India closer back in. For the most parts, we were in control. Boland – he’s my favourite player. He just continues to be my favourite. Everyone did their role really well. Coming off a break, everyone switched on when it mattered. Everyone played really well and we’ll savour this for a few days before we turn our attention to the Ashes.”

Australia made a few fielding lapses on day three against India, allowing Ajinkya Rahane and Shardul Thakur to build a century stand. Despite that, they secured a first-innings lead of 173.

“That’s been the approach for two years” – Travis Head on playing aggressively against India

Travis Head. (Image Credits: Getty)Smith takes the pressure off him.

Head said in the post-match presentation:

“Lot of hard work over the two years. It’s been nice. That’s been the approach for two years (positive approach with the bat). Said through the week that I want to be able to be proactive. I was tested throughout the innings. It was nice to be out there for a period of time with Smudge. Amazing week. Amazing Test from him and what we’ve come to expect (from him) here in England. Hope it’s a big couple of months from him. And I’ve always said that it feels like all the plans go to him, all the attention he draws, and I can just go about my work. Nice to spend some time out with him.”

The southpaw revealed that Australia had a few nervy moments heading into day five, but kept the self-belief of manoeuvering through it.

‘I’ve always had the confidence. It’s about going out there and expressing that. It took me some time and everyone goes through that. I’ve always been open to change, open to learning. I’ve bedded down somewhat of a blueprint. It’s not always going to work. It’s nice to work that out in such a big game and hopefully continues in the next couple of months. Lot of what-ifs going to bed last night. We’ve come across such moments through the two years where we’ve had to grind it out. Were able to do that again today.”

India came out on the final day at 164-3, but Scott Boland got Virat Kohli in the seventh over of the day. They eventually collapsed for 234.

Edited by Anirudh

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