Dhaka: Under captain KL Rahul in India’s tense successful chase of 145, despite Ravichandran Ashwin top-scoring with an unbeaten 42, it was Shreyas Iyer’s 29 not out which gave the visitors’ dressing room a small bit of assurance that all was well despite them being seven down.
“When someone is performing consistently for you, it is very heartening. Shreyas has been around for a long time and has had to wait for his opportunities and really happy to see that when he has had those opportunities, he has grabbed them with both hands. He is doing the job for the team and the way he played today was phenomenal.”
“He made it look really easy. There was lot of pressure and there was a bit of panic in the dressing room. But it didn’t look like there was any panic when we were watching Shreyas bat. With Ashwin, he had a really good partnership,” said captain KL Rahul in the post-match press conference on what effect Iyer’s presence had on the team.
In the series against Bangladesh, Iyer had made a habit of bailing India out of tough situations. In the first Test at Chattogram, when India were 112/4, Iyer scored a vital 86 and had a crucial stand with Cheteshwar Pujara to take the first innings total to 404.
In the first innings at Dhaka, when India were reduced to 94/4 in the first innings. Iyer joined forces with Rishabh Pant to stitch a stand of 159 runs for the sixth wicket, with he making 87.
In the second innings chase of 145, Iyer was compact in picking the length, being precise with the defence on the front or back foot and was always looking for runs sans any risks to take India home from a precarious 74/7 in an unbeaten 71-run partnership with Ravichandran Ashwin for the eighth wicket.
“He has played really well in the last 15 months to almost two years. He has done really well for us and then he had the injury and went away from the game for a little bit. He had to really wait for his turn again and has been really patient.”
“His journey hasn’t been easy, no one’s journey in the team has been easy. The way he is batting is phenomenal. It’s good to see he’s utilizing opportunities he gets and just hope that he continues to do this and gets even better,” added KL Rahul.
In the first hour on day four, India had lost Axar Patel, Rishabh Pant and Jaydev Unadkat, as 145 started to look very far off that what it was. But Ashwin and Iyer ensured India sailed home before lunch at Dhaka for a 2-0 series triumph.
“We had a tough game. We are happy that we got the job done. We were in a bit of trouble and there was a little pressure and nervousness in the dressing room. But really happy that Ashwin and Shreyas got that partnership and got us the victory.”
“Conditions were tough, but that is what makes Test cricket fun – your character really gets tested and we like playing cricket like that. It was a good, tough game, but it is something which is memorable and victory is obviously very sweet,” opined Rahul on the happenings in day four.
KL Rahul was also in praise of Bangladesh for winning the ODI leg of the tour and pushing India to tough scenarios in the Test matches. “(It was a) really good series. A lot of good experiences, and a lot of learnings, but losing the ODI series was not the greatest (feeling). But sometimes a series loss does teach you a lot of things and tell you about where you stand as a team and as individuals.”
“That is really important for us going into a 50-over World Cup to understand where we are lacking at and what needs to be better. Even the Test series, was really hard-fought. Bangladesh really played some very, very good cricket. They challenged us a lot. Even today, the best way to end the Test series.”
“They made it really hard and they were in the game for the first 30-32 overs and then Ashwin and Shreyas put their hands up and did the job for us. It’s been a brilliant tour of Bangladesh and probably next time when we come here, whoever comes here, will take learnings from here and come back better.”