“We Didn’t Really…”: Rahul Dravid Pin Points Exact Turning Point In First Test Against England

India head coach Rahul Dravid felt India’s mistake during the 28-run defeat to England in the opening Test was leaving runs on the field in the first innings and not capitalising on good starts. After India’s spinners forced England to succumb to 246, Yashasvi Jaiswal (80), KL Rahul (86) and Ravindra Jadeja (87) guided India to a gigantic total of 436.

All three batters looked poised to a big time on field, but eventually fell short. Dravid emphasized on this fact in the post-match press conference and said, “I thought we left probably 70 runs on the board in the first innings. You know, I think in our first innings, when conditions were pretty good to bat in on day two, I thought in the kinds of situations we got ourselves into, some good starts and we didn’t really capitalise.”

“We didn’t get a hundred, you know, we didn’t get somebody getting a really big hundred for us. So, in some ways, in India, I just felt we left those 70, 80 runs back in the hut in the first innings. Second innings is always going to be challenging. It’s one of those things that, you know, it’s tough. It’s not easy to chase 230 or it’s not done very often,” Dravid added.

Dravid went on to state that the current Test set-up features a lot of young players, who are still learning the art of playing long innings.

“A lot of players are quite young, in the sense that a lot of these guys do play a lot of white-ball cricket and also maybe don’t get a lot of time to get to play a lot of first-class cricket as well. So they’re learning and I think they’re getting there. To be fair, there have been challenging wickets as well over the last few years. And it’s been a bit of a challenge for some of our young batsmen to adapt. But they’ve got the skill and they’ve got the ability, and they’ve not come here just like that; they’ve come here by scoring a lot of runs in domestic cricket, doing well in A-team cricket. So, you know, they are being picked on merit,” Dravid said.

“Sometimes it does take time for people to adjust. They’re working really hard. I will say that, I mean, there’s a lot of thought going into a lot of their batting and for them… it’s just a question of them looking to constantly keep improving and developing skills that maybe help them counter these kind of conditions a little bit better,” Dravid added.

For the past three days, India were in complete control of the Test and dominated the visitors. But on Day 3, Ollie Pope stepped onto the crease and changed the entire complexion of the game with his reverse sweeps.

He not only brushed off India’s 190-run lead but went on to hand England a target that could be defended on a tricky surface with his knock of 196.

“I haven’t seen a better exhibition of sweeping and reverse sweeping [than Ollie Pope] ever in these conditions against that quality of bowling. Having said that, for us now, it’s important that we respond and come up with some plans and some strategies and see how we can maybe make him play those shots from probably even more difficult lengths and be even more disciplined and even more meticulous with our execution,” Dravid said.

“Because, I thought a little bit our execution went off. Not by much. Credit to him, but we were a little bit off and hopefully in the next Test match, if we get our execution right, then I hope he makes a mistake,” Dravid added.

India will face England in the second Test on February 2 at the ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Andhra Pradesh.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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