Rohit’s message for bowlers taking on England’s Bazballers: ‘Stay calm’

India
The message from Rohit Sharma and India’s team management to the bowling attack was to “stay calm” even as Ben Duckett countered them with a blistering century on the second day in Rajkot. Duckett’s wicket then hastened England’s collapse as they fell from 260 for 4 to 319 all out, in response to India’s first-innings 445. India’s bowlers triggered another England collapse in their second innings to seal a whopping 434-run victory and a 2-1 series lead.

“When you’re playing Test cricket, it’s not played over two days or three days. We do understand the importance of extending the game for five days,” Rohit said at the post-match presentation. “They played well, to be honest, and played some really good shots. They put us under pressure a little bit there, but look we’ve got class in our squad, when it comes to bowling. Obviously, the message was to stay calm because when things like that happen, it’s actually easy to drift away from what you want to do as a team. But I’m really proud of how we came back the next day, stuck to what we discussed, and when those things happen, it’s a delight to watch.”

“Lot of turning points. Once we won the toss…that was actually a good toss to win because we know in India, how important it is to win the toss and put runs on the board,” Rohit said. “And the lead that we got was very, very crucial for us. And the way we came out and bowled after that onslaught from the English batters was important for us to stay calm. The bowlers actually showed a lot of character and not to forget we didn’t have our most experienced bowler as well. But for this group to come out and get the job done in that fashion was really, really proud to watch.”

Rohit said that promoting Ravindra Jadeja to No.5, ahead of debutant Sarfaraz Khan, was partly down to having a left-right combination in the middle. Rohit and Jadeja added a 204-run fourth-wicket partnership – the highest in the match – to lift India from 33 for 3. Both Rohit and Jadeja hit hundreds while Sarfaraz made a sparkling 62 off 66 balls.

“Especially for this game, we thought he’s got so much experience playing this format,” Rohit said of Jadeja’s promotion. “He’s scored a lot of runs as well of late in the last couple of years. We always wanted that left-right batting as well. Sarfaraz being Sarfaraz we know the quality that he brings and we wanted him to just have some time before he gets into bat.

“By no means it’s a long-term plan with the batting order; we just go by the flow – what we feel on that particular day or what is right for us in that particular Test match depending on the composition of the opposition as well. We try to calculate everything and then go with the flow.”

Jadeja followed up his 112 with a match haul of seven wickets, including a five-for in the final innings, at his home ground. “I know about this wicket,” Jadeja said after collecting his Player-of-the-match award. “If we bat first, it’s always good to bat as the ball comes nicely onto the bat and in the second half it starts spinning. When Rohit won the toss, I was like ‘okay, this is what we wanted’.

“On this wicket, you won’t get easy wickets because you have to work hard for it because this surface looks good to bat on and you need to work hard to get wickets. You can’t just bowl and get wickets easily. You have to earn the wicket.”

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