India was never under pressure: Rahul Dravid

By Qaiser Mohammad Ali


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Chittagong : India captain Rahul Dravid said Tuesday that his team was never under pressure from Bangladesh in the first Test that ended in a draw here, and stressed that both teams would start from a scratch in the second Test.

"First day we ended on 295 for three, and the next day we went out looking for (quick) runs knowing that we had only 20 overs, and that again was a strategy," he told reporters after the weather-affected match.

"I can't think of the time when we were under any sort of pressure at all," he said at the Bir Shrestha Shahid Ruhul Amin Stadium.

India won the toss and scored 387 for eight wickets declared and Bangladesh struggled to avoid the follow-on, being all out for 238. India declared the second innings too at 110 for six.

Bangladesh were 104 for two when the rivals captains, with no result likely, agreed to stop the match in which over two days of play was washed out by persistent rain.

Dravid said it was Bangladesh that were under pressure in their first innings.

"They were struggling at one stage (149 for eight) and we were trying to set up a game at that stage," he said of Bangladesh's follow-on target of 188 that they eventually achieved.

On giving Bangladesh a fourth innings' winning target of 250 in 43 overs at 5.81 per over, Dravid said he had hoped that Habibul Bashar and his boys would go for it.

"We had to give them a bit of target. We had to hope they will play positively and play for the target. We hoped to take some early wickets and then anything could have happened and that was the thought process," he said.

"But after the first wicket they played sensibly and there was not much swing for us in the second innings. Just enough swing for us."

Dravid did not agree that Bashar's side goes into Friday's second Test with a psychological advantage.

"If they think they have a psychological edge, good luck to them. I am not here to win any psychological battle. It's going to start 0-0 in the next game," he stressed.

The India captain pointed out that left-arm pacer Rudra Pratap Singh had improved a lot over the last one year or so.

"They (bowlers) did well, played some hard cricket. Conditions were not exactly suitable for them to bowl fast. RP ran in and bowled with a lot enthusiasm. He has improved a lot than we had seen him in the past," he said.

R.P. Singh took four wickets in the match and generally bowled a tidy line and length throughout.

"It is matter of playing a lot of overs for guys like V.R.V. (Singh) and R.P. and it is critical for them," said Dravid.

Dravid also lauded Bangladesh pacer Mashrafe Mortaza, who bowled well and played the most crucial knock of 79 in the first innings that helped the hosts avoid the follow-on. Mortaza was adjudged the Man of the Match for the performance.

"Mortaza is a terrific cricketer and Bangladesh is lucky to have such a cricketer. He is a very good trier with the ball and his contribution down the order with the bat is also important for Bangladesh," he said.

"He did well in the World Cup and this match especially. He is developing as a genuine all-rounder and there are not many around at the moment, especially fast bowling all-rounders."