Great to see boys stepping up to take opportunities: Dravid

India has done well to overcome the challenges and secure another series in style.

Virat Kohli and Rahul Dravid

Indian team captain Virat Kohli with head coach Rahul Dravid.   -  PTI

India put its learnings from the first Test to good use at the Wankhede Stadium to register a convincing win under 43 minutes on the penultimate day of the second and final Test match against New Zealand.

With World Test Championship (WTC) points at stake, and Mumbai witnessing incessant showers ahead of the fixture, the team had an indoor session at the Bandra-Kurla Complex. 

India also had a few injury concerns – Ajinkya Rahane had a side strain, Ishant Sharma had dislocated his left little finger while Ravindra Jadeja suffered a right forearm injury during the first Test.

However, the team did well to overcome the challenges and secure another series in style. 

Mayank Agarwal scored a 150 and followed it up with 62. Ravichandran Ashwin picked eight wickets, with Axar Patel (3) and Jayant Yadav (5) pitching in with significant contributions. 

India head coach Rahul Dravid lauded the players for hanging in there. “I think it was good to finish the series as winners. We came close in Kanpur and were not able to get that last wicket. We had to work hard here. This result seems one-sided, but right through the series, we were made to work hard,” he said.

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“There have been phases where we were behind and had to fight back, so all credit to the team. It is great to see the boys stepping up and taking their opportunities. Yes, we were missing a few senior players. But credit to the guys who came in. Jayant had a difficult day yesterday, but he learned from it today,” the head coach said. 

Talking about Axar, who put up a stellar all-round show, Dravid said: “It is great to see his development with the bat in addition to what he can do with the ball. It gives us a lot of options as well. It helps us become a stronger side.” 

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On the team’s decision to not enforce a follow-on after New Zealand was bundled out for 62 in the first innings, Dravid said: “We knew we had a lot of time, so we did not think much of the follow-on. We also had a lot of young batters in the side, so wanted to give them a chance to bat in conditions like these.” 

Dravid believes the problem of ample backup is a good one to have. “We have had injuries in the lead-up, so we need to manage our players physically and mentally. It's going to be a large part of my challenge. It is also a challenge for the selectors and the leadership group. It's a good headache to have, to see young boys perform well. There's a great desire to do well and everyone's pushing each other. I hope to have more headaches, as long as we have clear communication and we explain to the players why,” Dravid said. 

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