It was a tough Test match for the bowlers. With hardly any assistance from the pitch, it was a hard day at the office as England amassed a 500 plus score and backed it up with a similar batting dominance in their second innings. It was a batting paradise as there were as many as six centurions in the match with hardly any telling bowling performance.
It was a difficult pitch to bowl on agreed Mishra who spoke to BCCI.TV after the match. “It was a good wicket for batting. It was a slow wicket. It would have been a lot more exciting had there been more pace in the wicket,” he said. “The result could have gone in our favour had we put them under pressure by picking wickets at the top. There is difficulty for the bowlers to bowl on wickets that are suitable for batting and you are about to bowl to a side that has already scored 500 plus. It is important as a bowler to bowl in the right areas and make the batsmen commit errors. We tried our best but credit to them for the way they batted.”
Personally, Mishra was playing a Test after a three-month gap. He last played against West Indies in Jamaica. Though he had a telling performance against New Zealand in the final ODI in Vizag where he picked up a fifer, it did take some adjusting for the format shift, agreed Mishra.
“I wouldn’t say I bowled very well. It did take time for me to get my rhythm, especially since I was playing a Test after a long time. I was at the bench for two Tests in the West Indies and then sat out in the New Zealand Test series. Also, I was coming off from the ODI series so the transition from ODIs to Tests did take some time. Today, I believe there was improvement in my bowling in the second innings and I bowled better.
“The first innings didn’t go my way but I began to get my rhythm in the second innings when the pitch began to help the spinners a bit. Hopefully, I can continue with this rhythm in the next Test match if I get a chance. I do have the confidence of the fifer I took against New Zealand in Vizag and my preparations will only get better come the second Test.”
India were set a target of 310 and the situation almost got out of hand as the home team lost six wickets in the process. Captain Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja though batted out the day with scores of 49 and 32 respectively and the match ended in a draw. The dressing room did get a bit tense towards the end but the confidence was always sky high, according to Mishra.
“There was a bit of pressure but we were confident of the outcome. Our batsmen were in form and had runs under their belt. The batsmen to follow were also confident that they could bat it out. It was great batting from Kohli and Jadeja, who was very positive and he even went for shots. At such a time, the bowlers tend to get on the backfoot. That gets them thinking. He was asked to play his natural game but at the same time not try anything flashy. Both showed great temperament and showed we wouldn’t succumb under pressure.”
Though India were brought under the pump, Mishra and company were willing to take positives into the next Test. “We will take confidence from this Test and there were quite a few positives that we can take into the next Test. We replied well to their 500 plus score and we played positive cricket. We will try to do well in the next match.”