KL Rahul: Our month-long preparation paid off in first Test

IND vs ENG 1st Test: India opener KL Rahul said that his side maintained its intensity throughout the game to keep England on the back-foot in Nottingham.

Rahul hailed seamer Jasprit Bumrah's performance (match figures of 9/110 and a 28-run cameo with the bat) in the Test and refrained from calling it a 'comeback'   -  Action Images via Reuters

India opener KL Rahul said his team started its series against England on a fine note even as the first Test of ended in a draw on Sunday in Nottingham. 

India headed into the final day at 52/1, requiring 157 runs to win the Test, however, persistent rain spoilt its chances as the play was called off in the third session without a ball being bowled. Rahul, who top-scored in India's first innings, said India's disciplined bowling was a major factor in its fine performances against Joe Root's men.

"The way we bowled in the first innings, the discipline that we showed especially after losing the Toss. The way Shami and Bumrah started and how Shardul and Siraj continued, all of them worked together and bowled in the right channels and we got the rewards for it," Rahul said.

READ: Kohli says first Test's team "template" for remainder of series

The Test also saw India's pace quartet picking all 20 English wickets for just the second time in history (first was against South Africa in 2018). Rahul said the team's fast bowlers have gained enough experience over the last few years to take control in such conditions. "It's easy to get carried away but it did not happen with our bowlers and that says a lot about our bowling unit. There's a lot of experience in the attack and they've been playing together for a while," he added.

Preparation pays off

Stressing further on the take-aways from the Test, Rahul said the team's preparation stints since the World Test Championship final in June has eventually paid off. "The way we went about our batting as well was pretty good. On a challenging pitch with the weather conditions forcing us to go in and out, it's not easy to get our focus back but we held ourselves well."

Rahul added that India maintained its intensity throughout the game to keep the host on the back-foot. "I think the energy was great on the field and everything that we've prepared for over the last month and a half fell in place nicely. It's a great start for the series for us and hopefully, we'll keep improving," Rahul said.

READ: India vs England first Test ends in a draw in Nottingham

Tail-enders and Bumrah comeback

Rahul hailed Jasprit Bumrah's performance (match figures of 9/110 and a 28-run cameo with the bat) in the Test and refrained from terming it as a 'comeback' from the pacer. "I don't know why you call it a comeback. He's been our No. 1 bowler and once again he did what he does best," Rahul said. 

Rahul, who featured in his first Test since 2019, also added that India's lower-order batting will play a huge role in the series up ahead. "It's going to be very important, especially in such conditions. Those 30-40 runs matter. They have been working very hard to improve their batting and being here for two months has helped. Good to see that level of application and dedication from them," Rahul added.

READ: HIGHLIGHTS

Making the opportunity count

Rahul, who last scored a Test hundred for India in its previous tour to England, was pleased with his performance on return and said he is focused on playing for the team's objective. "It's just one match now. Yes, I batted well. It's been a long time since I played red-ball cricket and I wanted to make my opportunities count. It's important for the openers to set a good start here, so I am focusing on doing that for my side."

India will now face England in the second Test at Lord's on Thursday after marking four points in the World Test Championship table for its draw on Sunday. 

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