Ind vs Eng 1st Test – Rohit Sharma rues India ‘not being brave’ enough in 28-run loss to England

Rohit Sharma feels India were not “brave enough” in their second innings and they “overall failed as a team” as they went down by 28 runs in Hyderabad.

“When you are put against a wall, you need to show character and you need to be brave enough, which I thought we weren’t,” Rohit said on the official broadcast after India went 1-0 down in the five-Test series. “We wanted to take some chances… we didn’t take chances with the bat. But that can happen.”

With India taking a massive 190-run first-innings lead, the idea that England would finish on the winning side was more than a bit far-fetched. However, Ollie Pope produced an epic 196 off 278 balls to take England to 420 in their second dig and gave them a 230-run lead, which proved just enough.

Rohit said that Pope’s knock was “probably the best” he had seen in Indian conditions by an overseas batter, but felt that the target was by no means ungettable on a surface not doing too much.

“You got to take your hat off and say ‘well played’ to Ollie Pope. That was some serious knock,” Rohit said. “Having gotten the lead of 190, we thought we were very much in the game, but then… exceptional batting, probably the best that I have seen in Indian conditions by an overseas batter.

“Ollie Pope played a brilliant knock. I definitely thought 230 was gettable, there wasn’t too much in the pitch, but we didn’t bat well enough to get to the score.”

This is only the third time overall – and the first time at home – that India have lost a Test match after securing a first-innings lead in excess of 100 runs. Was India’s bowling to blame for the loss in Hyderabad then?

“I went and checked where we bowled [after the third day], and I thought we bowled in the right areas,” Rohit said. “When you finish the day, you analyse: what went well, what didn’t go well, and things like that. We went back and saw things; we spoke about [them] and I thought the bowlers executed the plan really well.

“Overall we failed as a team. We didn’t bat well enough to get to that score [in the second innings]”

Rohit Sharma

“Hard to look at one or two things. Overall we failed as a team. I thought after the first innings of their batting and our batting I thought we were very much in the game. We didn’t bat well enough to get to that score [in the second innings].”

Rohit also had praise for India’s lower-order batters, who hung around to give them hope late on the fourth day. India were at 119 for 7 in the 41st over and a swift end was on the horizon. But KS Bharat and R Ashwin strung a 57-run stand off 130 balls for the eighth wicket. Even Jasprit Bumrah and No. 11 Mohammed Siraj hung around for 37 balls, adding 25 runs, but could not take the game into the final day with Siraj falling in the last over of an extended day to give Tom Hartley his seventh wicket of the innings and spark celebrations in the England camp.

“I wanted them to take the game to the fifth day; 20-30 runs anything is possible,” Rohit said. “The lower order fought really well, and showed the top order that you need to fight it out. It is the first game of the series. I hope the guys can learn from that.”

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