If there was a shot in the Mohali Test that said "you may as well shake hands now" it was Parthiv Patel's upper cut off Ben Stokes for four with India needing 48 runs to win. Parthiv was playing for India for the first time in eight years and he gave a fine account of himself, cracking 67 off 54 balls, including a lofted cover drive for four which became the winning runs.
"I think he really stood out in this game for me as a batsman," India's captain, Virat Kohli, said.
Parthiv had also made 42 in the first innings opening the batting at short notice after KL Rahul was ruled out aggravating a forearm injury in the nets, to go with four catches and a stumping. So was there a chance that he might stay with the team as a back-up batsman even if Wriddhiman Saha comes back to keep wicket for the Mumbai Test, starting on December 8?
"You never know, there are all kinds of possibilities," Kohli said. "The way he approached both innings, it was amazing to see. That's where experience from the first-class level comes into play. He's someone who's played [for India] at a very early age and he's come back and the intent he showed in both innings, I think, just deflated the opposition. Credit to him to go out there and counterattack and take on their seamers. You never know. We'll see what happens in the next few days. We'll take a call accordingly."
Another aspect that pleased Kohli was how consistently India's lower order has been performing. They are second in terms of average runs added by the last four wickets in Test cricket this year.
"As a side, when you get five or six wickets you think that the game is going to get over early and the batsmen go into that zone and suddenly you have to field for 50 more overs," Kohli said. "You are confused whether to think about the game or focus on batting or focus on the field. All sorts of things start happening. We have experienced in the past as well when other teams have done it against us and we haven't found a way to stop it. So it's great to see our guys stepping up and making it count.
"Every game, on an average, we are scoring 80-85 runs. This game was 200-plus. Amazing to see guys working hard on their batting, 70-80 runs put a dent on the opposition batting and when they come out to bat they know they've given 60 runs more. It makes a massive difference especially in Test cricket to stretch the game longer for a session or session-and-a-half and then come out with the confidence in the field as well. With the ball also it helps them, they have admitted it themselves. You see, Ashwin is the No. 1 allrounder, he scores lots of runs and comes out more confident with the ball. Credit to them and for executing those plans."
There was something else that geed up Kohli as well. He was seen exchanging words with Ben Stokes after the England allrounder was dismissed on the first day at the PCA stadium. Stokes was later fined by the ICC for the incident and when he took Kohli's wicket on the second day, he celebrated by putting his hand over his mouth. Kohli responded with a finger-on-lips celebration when Stokes got out in the last over of the third day.
Tthe question was bound to crop up in the press conference. "I'm surprised out of all the cricket questions you picked this," Kohli said. "He's a competitive player and so am I. I wouldn't like to explain or elaborate what happened on the field. It's better left to officials to know what happened. These things have only motivated me in the past and continued to do so. So I don't mind it."