Visakhapatnam, Feb 5: In the Indian cricket team's series-levelling victory against England in the second Test here on Monday, head coach Rahul Dravid highlighted individual performances as the cornerstone of the superb comeback.
Having lost to the visitors in the first Test in Hyderabad in a collective failure of both the batting and bowling units, India rode on the brilliance of Jasprit Bumrah, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shubman Gill to go level in the five-match ICC World Test Championship series with a convincing 106-run win.
Jaiswal struck a brilliant 290-ball 209 to help India reach a big score in the first innings before Bumrah claimed 6-45 to destroy England's first innings. Just when England were hoping to fight back in India's second innings, Shubman Gill scored a career-saving 104 not helping India set England a target of 399. Bumrah got into the act again as he along with Ravichandran Ashwin claimed three wickets apiece to guide the hosts to a memorable victory.
Admitting that India were under pressure in the game in a few situations, Dravid said that the individual performances helped them get the win. "We were put under pressure at various times, but I think a couple of individual brilliance kept us in the game in the first couple of days," Dravid said at the post-match press conference.
"Yashasvi's brilliant innings, 209 in that first innings. And then Bumrah's spell really on the first two days kept us or got us ahead by 140. And then, we needed a bit more of a team performance over days three and four to get us over the line."
Dravid, however, commented that India wasn't truly dominating the game at any stage and that the team conceded good positions, especially with the bat.
"I don't think we were in any position at any stage in this game to ever think about putting pressure back on the opposition," Dravid says.
"So, I think more than that [forcing the play], I think after we lost the first couple of wickets, we soaked the pressure really well to get that partnership, but we couldn't just capitalize on it enough."
"If we had got to tea at 250 for 4 instead of 230 for 6, we were 210 for 4 I think, and you just start getting comfortable and then you lose a couple of wickets and you're thinking, 'oh'."
The head coach also said that, like in Hyderabad, India did not get as many runs as they wanted to. "At times, people may not be able to convert some of the starts, but for us, for me, it's not so much about, it's just about reading the game and the game situation," the former India No.3 said. "I think it's about understanding whether are we making the right decisions when to put the pressure, or are we recognising that this is a moment where we need to soak in the pressure a little bit and maybe be a little bit more conservative rather than attack all out?
"I do feel that we did leave runs on the board here again."
With the win, India rose the ICC World Test Championship 2023-25 table to the second position and a win percentage of 52.77%, just behind Australia (55.00%) at No.1.