India skipper Virat Kohli says the much-improved batting performance by the lower-order, particularly wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, was the biggest gain of the West Indies series, which India won 2-0.
Kohli said the team was satisfied with the outcome of the series as the fourth Test ended in a draw after a wet outfield led to abandonment of the match. “It’s been a pretty good tour for us. We had come here looking to improve in a few areas and we have done that. For me, the biggest positive is Wriddhiman Saha getting runs in the lower-order, and R. Ashwin coming good at No. 6,” Kohli said. Both Saha and Ashwin scored a century each in the third Test to help India recover from the top-order collapse in the first innings.
“I hope we can keep on improving this aspect of our game because there are positions, which matter a lot in Test cricket. Whenever teams have done consistently well in Test cricket, their lower order has always contributed. So, those were the areas for us to solidify,” Kohli said.
M. Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara were included in the playing eleven as the visitors went in with four bowlers for the first time in the series.
Kohli provided the reasoning for the decision to play four bowlers. “We lost a Test in Galle (on the Sri Lanka tour last year) when we were a batsman short. Even in the home series against South Africa, we were struggling on quite a few occasions because of lack of a batsman. So we wanted to try this combination out, though the game didn’t happen here.
“If we play four specialist bowlers at home we may not need the fifth because with three frontline spinners, it probably does the job for you. So we thought even if we play two spinners and two pacers, Rohit (Sharma) and Vijay can give those 10 extra overs. Away from home you need all your best bowlers playing because you don’t know how the wickets will play.
“We are going to play world-class sides at home, who are going to capitalise on the window of chance we give them. So it was just something we wanted to try out. We should be flexible.”
Talking about the 2-0 result in the series against a side ranked eighth in Tests, the skipper said, “the amount of cricket we played, I think it’s a pretty fair representation.
“We lost a day of cricket in Jamaica. But let’s give credit to the West Indies who showed resilience and played really good cricket on day five there. That’s what you expect from a Test-playing nation.”