World Test Championship

'It's been disappointing for us' - Dravid laments missed opportunity

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Rahul Dravid has turned the heat on India to improve the way they finish matches after they were overrun by a rampant England's fourth-innings heroics.

India paid the price for failing to make the most of their advantages in the recent Test loss to England and against South Africa earlier this year, in a trend that head coach Dravid wants the team to confront head-on.

"It's been disappointing for us," Dravid said. "We had a couple of opportunities in South Africa as well and here, I just think it's something we need to look at, something we need to probably work on.

"We have been very good at that over the last few years, in terms of taking wickets and winning those Test matches. But we haven't been able to do that over the last few months.

"It could be a variety of factors: it could be maybe we just need to maintain that intensity, maintain that level of fitness, or maintain that level of performance right through a Test match."

India’s collapse from 190/4 to being bowled out for 245 in their second innings played a key role in letting England back into the match despite having a 132-run first innings lead.

Dravid spoked about how his team has started matches on the front foot but seem to lose steam along the way, not finishing with the same level of performance which was once again the case at Edgbaston against England.

"In the second innings, we have not batted as well," Dravid said.

"If you look at all the third innings of these two Test matches overseas and this one, the batting has also probably not been up to scratch.

"In both areas, we have sort of started the Test matches well but we haven't been able to finish well. We need to get better at that and certainly need to improve."

Spinners have historically been India’s strength in Tests so the exclusion of Ravichandran Ashwin was bound to raise eyebrows given India’s recent struggles with picking up wickets in fourth innings.

"In hindsight, you can always look at things and look at the combination of your team. Shardul has done a good job for us in these games," Dravid said.

"It is always not easy to leave someone like Ash out in a Test match. But having said that, when we looked at the wicket on the first day, it had a pretty good even covering of grass. We felt that there was enough in it for the fast bowlers.

"Even going into the last day the wicket hasn't really spun - whether it's for Jack Leach, whether it's for Ravindra Jadeja who bowled through the Test match. If anything, because maybe the weather played a part over the first days, and there weren't long phases of sun, the wicket didn't break up as much as we expected it to, or didn't spin as much as we expected it to.

"It's easy to look back on the fifth day and say it would have been nice to have a second spinner in the fourth innings, but again it didn't really turn to justify that."

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Watson hails England veteran's transformation | The ICC Review

Brendon McCullum’s impact on the England team has been enormous following their 3-0 series win against New Zealand and now having successfully chased down targets of over 250 runs on four consecutive occasions. 

The India head coach was asked about what he thought of “Bazball” and whether this could change the way Test cricket is played.

“Don’t really know what’s that (Bazball),” Dravid said with a smile. 

“I would definitely say that the kind of cricket they have been playing in the last few months has been really good. They have been really good at chasing. Chasing is not easy in the fourth innings, especially in England.

“Whatever brand of cricket one wants to play, it depends a lot on the players and the kind of form they are in presently. When the players are in good form, you obviously play a more positive game, as we did in that innings where Pant and Jadeja were batting.”

The result, followed by the points penalty for maintaining a slow over-rate, saw India drop down to fourth spot on the ICC World Test Championship standings.

The fifth Test between England and India was originally scheduled to take place last year. India had their tails up and England were not the same side that we know of today. The year-long gap probably played a role in the result but Dravid said that’s no excuse for how things panned out.

"I don't want to make excuses," Dravid said. "I wasn't part of the team then. India was on a roll at that stage. England were probably in a slightly different situation at that point of time. But they have come here on the back of three consecutive wins against New Zealand. We have had a long gap in between Test cricket, but no excuses.

"They played well over the five days. We had our opportunities, we played well over the first three days. We couldn't maintain that. That's why Test cricket is hard. And that's why Test cricket means that you have got to be able to keep putting those performances right through the five days. We were not able to do that and they did that better than us and they deserved to win this Test match."

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