In a span of five days, emotions were on a high, momentum shifts changed the course of the game and there were standout performances from either teams that marked the end of a well fought Test match. Australia captain Steve Smith was of the opinion that his side had the momentum going into the final Test at Dharamsala. India captain Virat Kohli though was focussed on his side’s goals and positives going into the final Test.
“Everyone has their point of view. We will look at our positives and we are happy with where we brought the game to after just one innings,” Virat said. “We put ourselves in a position to win, so we feel it was a very good effort to get into a winning situation. If you are playing against the No. 2 side, you will expect that they will come out and fight, not just roll over. We didn’t need to bat in the second innings and they had to play for a draw. They will look at their positives and we will look at our positives and move forward. There is still one match to go, both will give their best.”
“You know sometimes I feel really bad for him. People don’t understand his importance so much in this team and what a valuable player he is for us. He is the most composed player we have in the team. He is willing to grind for his runs, he doesn’t mind batting under pressure and he likes to take a challenge. Someone like that is priceless to have in the team.
“When the pressure situation comes up, he is someone who will put his hand up and play long for the team and hold up one end, which I think is a great quality. This season he has been outstanding. He has not been spoken about much or has been in the focus too much but he deserves much more than that. People need to stand up and take notice of what he has done this season, he has been outstanding with the bat and hopefully, he will continue that in the last Test.
“Saha's knock again was brilliant for us,” Virat continued speaking about the mammoth 199-run stand that Saha and Pujara shared. “He's always stood up when the team needs him and this game was no different. His partnership with Pujara was the reason we had a go at winning this Test. He is one guy who is always willing to do anything for the team. Wherever we ask him to bat, he bats. He plays any kind of role - positive, defensive and whatever we ask him to do, he never says no. I am really happy he performed in a big pressure match, in a difficult situation and put us in a position to have a shot at winning the game.”
Yes, India played well but Australia were no different when they were put under the pump in the second innings. Battling from four wickets down at Lunch to batting time and taking the match towards a draw was commendable, according to Virat. “I don’t want to take any credit away from their effort. They batted very well. Four down by lunch, and after that they didn’t lose a wicket in the entire session. So, credit to them. When someone plays well, you have to give them credit, we understand that.”
He also heaped praise on his bowlers, Jadeja, who in particular was outstanding with a match tally of nine wickets. “Jadeja’s bowling was outstanding in this match. All the bowlers bowled very well but Jadeja in my opinion was standout. If you look at his economy, on this pitch it was high-class bowling and that showed why he is the joint No. 1 bowler alongside Ashwin.”