Rahul Dravid stated that the one thing that stood out in the hard-fought series win over Australia was the team’s fight when put under tough situations, after Rohit Sharma and Co clinched the Test series against Australia 2-1 with the fourth match ending in a draw in Ahmedabad on Monday.
Although the tourists bounced back from their opening two losses to win the third Test and keep the series alive until the final match, India won their fourth series in a row against Australia. India lifted the Border-Gavaskar Trophy at home in 2017 and then beat the Australians in their own backyard in 2018-19 and 2020-21, each time 2-1. Even a drawn series would have meant India retained the BGT.
In the post-match presentation, Dravid said, “It was a hard fought series. There were moments where we were put under extreme pressure and we managed to respond.”
He added: “Rohit led the way with the hundred in the first Test and it was bookended by Virat Kohli’s brilliant 186. In the middle, we had performances from (Ravichandran) Ashwin, (Ravindra) Jadeja, Axar (Patel), Shubman there. I’ve probably missed out a few. I think our fight stood out.”
“Australia putting up 480 in this match, we needed someone to step up and respond to them. It has been a heartening thing for me as a coach. Australia are the no.1 team in the Test. To be able to fight against them and step up when required it has been a great thing.”
On the WTC final
Even before the players shook hands on day five, India knew they had reached the World Test Championship decider thanks to New Zealand’s thrilling last-ball win over Sri Lanka earlier in the day. It will be India’s second successive WTC final, having lost the inaugural edition to New Zealand in 2021.
Talking about the thriller that went down at Christchurch and India’s plans for the WTC final, Dravid said, “We followed it over four or five overs. We followed it in bits and pieces.”
The preparation would have to wait though.
“We just qualified at lunchtime today. I wasn’t counting my chickens before they hatched. We’ll celebrate this for starters,” he said, talking about India’s plans in the lead up to the final in June. “It is going to be a challenge. There’s going to be a lot of logistics involved given the IPL final is only a week before the WTC final. We’ll think about it,” he added.
“It’s not easy to produce results home and away. To get the chance to play in the Oval again, it is a great thing to put the performances and play the final again.”
On Shubman Gill
Shubman Gill, who is the leading run-scorer for India in all formats in 2023, hit 128 to lead India’s first innings reply in the third Test. He was also lauded by the Head Coach who has seen his development since the U-19 days.
“It has been some exciting 4-5 months for Shubman,” said Dravid. “Scoring a hundred in the white ball format, scoring a double hundred, and century here. Coming up and maturing, taking on the responsibility, putting up the performances that the situation demands. Works hard for his skills, great opportunity for him to learn from Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, to watch Steve Smith bat in the opposition. Lovely kid, a good thing for him to learn and grow.”
On Australian spinners
Australian spinner Nathan Lyon took 22 wickets including three in the final Test and was ably supported by up-and-coming spinners Todd Murphy and Matt Kuhnemann. Dravid, who was lavish in his praise for the Australian spinners said, “It has been absolutely brilliant. He (Lyon) has been exceptional the way he bowled. Just the kind of pressure or the control he was able to give Smith and Cummins.”
He added: “And also the two young spinners as well – Matt Kuhnemann and Todd Murphy, gave him that kind of support. A lot of times you see in good overseas teams that they have one good spinner but they tend to leak runs on the other end so you can control the game from the other end. But credit to them, they maintained that pressure and took wickets.”
“A lot of the guys were full of praise for the quality of spin they had to play which made the series win all that much more sweet. Some of the players were saying that since (Monty) Panesar and (Graeme) Swann, they haven’t played a quality spin attack or spells like this in the last ten years in these conditions.”
You can watch the whole video here.
Quotes courtesy PTI and AFP