India were behind by 2-0 going into the Trent Bridge Test, but it seems there wasn’t too much panic in the dressing room. After sealing an emphatic 203-run victory, that kept India alive in the series, Virat Kohli revealed that the only thing the team was concentrating on was “putting runs on the board” because “the bowlers were doing so well”.
“We only spoke about the fact that we were outplayed in only one Test out of the last five overseas, which was at Lord’s and there was no need for us to change anything because Birmingham was close,” he said at the post-match presentation. “As a batting group, we spoke about how the bowlers are doing so well and if we just stepped up as batsmen we will definitely be on top and that’s exactly what we did.”
“We dominated the game because we put runs on the board and then the bowlers were waiting and ready as always”
India made 329 in the first innings, having overcome a tough period in the morning to make runs in the sunshine. Then in a reversal of events from the last Test, the clouds returned when it was England’s turn to bat. Harnessing the help on offer, Hardik Pandya picked up five wickets in six overs to bundle the hosts out for 161.
“The bowling group was eager to take 20 wickets again. It was just a question of as batsmen what we can do to provide them with that cushion of going hard at the opposition and that’s exactly what we did in this game. When both skills come together with slip catching, you win Test matches and I’m really happy to see everyone taking the responsibility at the right time. Couldn’t have come at a better time for us.”
An important contributor to the victory was India’s vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane. He came out to bat on the back of a string of low scores – 15. 2. 19 and 13 – but changed the “complex of the game” with a fine half-century, his first in 14 innings.
“Jinx was very clear with his mindset. That’s something that we really love about him. He’s very positive in his set up. He prepares that way and when he goes out and plays like that he’s very attractive to watch and he changed the whole complex of the game. Exactly what he did. We just kept talking about how we need to keep building a strong and a big partnership and just march on from there. It was all about getting stuck in, not throwing our wicket away, having that patience to grind out the opposition. They’re a quality bowling attack but you need patience grit and determination to score against them. I think Jinx in the first innings and Puji in the second showed that immensely.
Kohli and Rahane put on 159 runs in 40.2 overs and then tagged in the bowlers and this time it was Jasprit Bumrah’s turn. Long considered a white-ball specialist, he broke through England’s resistance in the second innings dismissing the centurion Jos Buttler and hastening India’s rush to victory with figures of 5 for 85.
“We dominated the game because we put runs on the board and then the bowlers were waiting and ready as always. Someone like Bumrah stepping in, Pandya taking five, Ishant experienced as always, Shami running in as well, Ash as well with his injury bowled so well.
“The most pleasing thing for me to see in the morning was the four fastest bowlers in the series so far have been all Indians. That’s something that we’re really proud of. We’ve worked on our fitness levels. We’ve worked one our mindsets and we’re just eager to go out there and make a play for the team. Cutting down any loose deliveries or loose phases. We want the opposition to bat well to get runs, not gift them any. So these guys are getting into that kind of mindset as they’re playing more and more Test cricket. It’s just such a delight to watch guys running in and going hard at the batsmen because as batsmen you understand how hard it is to get Test runs and you want to make it as hard for the opposition as well and these guys are doing it beautifully.”