Need to respect phases where the opposition plays well, says KL Rahul

While the scorecard from the first Test between India and Bangladesh at Chattogram will show a comfortable 188-run win for the visitors, it won’t tell the story of how the KL Rahul-led side had to work hard in order to get things in favour.

In their first innings on day one, India were reduced to 48/3, before Cheteshwar Pujara, Shreyas Iyer, Ravichandran Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav chipped in vital contributions with the bat to take the first innings score to 404.

Then in defending 513, they had to toil hard for 46 overs before getting a breakthrough and eventually, bowl out Bangladesh for 324 on day five. With the win, India have boosted their hopes of reaching World Test Championship final for a second successive time.

“That’s Test cricket, right? You are never going to get a victory that will be easy. We knew that and have played enough Test cricket to understand that there will be phases where the opposition plays well and we need to respect that. We need to keep doing our job and of that, I am very proud of that throughout the Test match, our energy and intensity has been really high to maintain that for all five days.”

“Throughout the five days, we have shown great commitment as a team after not playing Test cricket as a team for some time. There was a bit of worry coming into the Test match about how the bodies would react and how we would manage to be on the park for so long and still maintain our focus and intensity. But we did very well and that’s something very pleasing,” said Rahul, the stand-in skipper, in the post-match press conference.

The Test win at Chattogram means India have begun the longer format leg of the tour on a good note after losing ODI series 2-1. Moreover, with them playing a Test after losing to England at Edgbaston in July meant doubts were there on how India will fare in Chattogram. But now looking at the win, all of those were laid to rest.

“ODI series was a bit disappointing. But we had played some good cricket and couldn’t capitalise on the big moments, and that was a bit disappointing. Here, it’s a completely different format and team. Few individuals bring fresh energies when coming in and you tend to forget about what’s happened in the past and focus on what we have to do.”

“Everyone of us in dressing room get excited about playing Test cricket. There’s a good, positive energy about how we look at Test cricket and wanting to win games of cricket. We know that it’s always going to be challenging and that’s the fun of Test cricket. So, it’s really pleasing that we have turned up in this Test series by managing to get victory in the first game. We will enjoy this for next game or two and then focus on the next game,” added Rahul.

Rahul was also in praise of the bowling attack, especially Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel, who had match hauls of eight and five wickets while playing decisive roles in India’s first and second innings respectively, while taking note of bowlers who supported the duo in the match.

“Yes, there are areas where we can improve, but I will take the win. Everyone performed and did their job. Yes, the guys who did really well, put their hands up and took those good days to make it really valuable for the team. Kuldeep Yadav with the first innings, Siraj bowled really well in the first innings as well. But also the guys, who didn’t pick much wickets also did a good job and supported the other bowlers very well.”

“Axar bowled well in second innings, but Ashwin and Kuldeep put the pressure on by bowling some really good spells and kept it tight. They even beat the bat couple of times, but were unfortunate (to not get wickets). Overall we had good performances, like the bowlers got wickets, and bowled well while the batters got starts. Hopefully we can do our job as a team and whoever has good days can turn into match-winning performances, which is what matters as a team.”

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