Chennai: While praising youngsters KL Rahul and Karun Nair, Indian captain Virat Kohli attributed the innings thrashing of England in the fifth Test to the hard work and team spirit, saying the comprehensive 4-0 series victory reflected the character of the side.
“After already clinching the series 3-0, to come out and perform like this, it is the evidence of the character in the side. It was evident the way we batted, bowled. We wanted the youngsters to step up, someone like Lokesh Rahul, then Karun Nair, they came in after two Test matches. They got us to a position where there was only one winner,” Kohli said at the post match presentation ceremony.
“It’s always a tricky position. England scored 477 then conceded a lead of 281. We understood that if we got a couple of wickets, it could slide pretty quickly. (Ravindra) Jadeja did his job, picking up seven wickets, it was great to watch,” Kohli added.
Kohli lost four tosses out of five but India still registered four comprehensive victories.
“Yeah, we are proud of our performance. The toss and the pitch condition was out of equation. We conceded over 400 runs in England first innings but still ended up winning by an innings. That does not happen very often,” Kohli said.
“We worked hard day in, day out and we don’t care what happens outside. There is lot of respect among players in the changing room. That’s how we end up being in a winning position more often than not.
“The lower order has also made outstanding contributions. Every time when we were under the pump, we’ve fronted up,” said the skipper, who scored 655 runs with a hundred and a double century and was adjudged man of the series.
Talking about his fast bowlers, Kohli said, “We are proud of our fast bowlers. Pace was up there, was there consistency, better than theirs (England’s) and that makes me very proud.”
England captain Alastair Cook conceded that India were the far better side in the series and his team was outplayed.
“No excuses, India were the better team and deserved to win. It was a very good fifth day wicket. We got ourselves in a good position at lunch but it wasn’t enough to get out. We dropped vital chances and India have been punishing us, it’s hard to stop the momentum,” he said.
“Credit to Virat, they’ve outplayed us. Hard to say as a professional but they’ve been better.”
Cook added: “It’s a series of missed opportunities and dropped catches have cost us. Not being able to score enough runs and take enough wickets. It’s a tough dressing room to be in, we tried as hard as we could but wasn’t good enough. Same for both sides, but momentum can go with you. It’s a tough place to come to.”
Karun, who bagged the man-of-the-match award for his 303 not out, said, “It’s an amazing feeling when you contribute to winning a match, so hats off the to team. I think it will take a couple of days to sink in.”
Asked if there was a celebration in the Indian dressing room after his triple ton, he said, “I was going through all the texts and wishes that I got. Everyone congratulated me but we were more focused on winning the match.”
Nair, who is now the only second Indian triple centurion after Virender Sehwag, added: “There’s a lot to learn. I’ve been learning each day, working hard on my game.”