KL Rahul 'proud' of hard-fought Chattogram win
"We haven't played Test cricket in a while, so there was some worry coming into the Test match about how the bodies would react"
After five days of hard-fought Test cricket in Chattogram, when India have a nice evening watching the football World Cup final and having a team dinner, the one thing they will experience for the first time since July is the oddly-satisfying soreness from five days of cricket.
While the scorecard will show a comprehensive win - and it was one - it took India hard work to achieve. They had to revive their first innings with the bat, and then had to toil for 46 overs for their first wicket in the second. It is just the kind of test you want - stern but not threatening a defeat - as you get back to Test mode. A sterner series against Australia awaits at home, with World Test Championship final qualification implications involved.
"That's Test cricket: you are never going to get a victory that's going to be easy," India's stand-in captain KL Rahul said. "We know that. We have played enough Test cricket to understand that there will be phases where the opposition also plays well. We need to respect that, and keep doing our job. I am very proud of that.
"Throughout the Test match our energy and intensity has been really high, and we have maintained it throughout the day. Throughout the last five days we have shown great commitment towards the team. We haven't played Test cricket in a while, so there was some worry coming into the Test match about how the bodies would react and how we would be able to manage being on the park for so long, and maintain our focus and intensity. We did that really well, and that is pleasing."
As has been the case with Indian Test cricket in recent years, players who are not regulars grabbed their opportunities. Left-arm wristspinner Kuldeep Yadav was the Player of the Match, Shubman Gill registered his first Test century, and Mohammed Siraj did well too. Rahul was asked how the team keeps these players in good spirits because they don't get regular chances.
"At this level players are naturally very motivated," he said. "We are playing for our country; we have worked really hard since we were kids to get here. Yes sometimes when you are in and out of the team and you don't get too many opportunities. It is natural to feel down and feel not confident enough. But as a group, as a team, we always try to make everyone feel comfortable in the group. The talk is always about what the team needs, and not about individuals.
"Whether you have played 50 Test matches or whether it is your first or second, it doesn't matter. We always try to see what the team needs and what we need to win a game of cricket. They play enough cricket. I know they may not have played enough international cricket, but back home, first-class cricket, IPL and India A - there is a lot of cricket happening. So everybody is playing enough cricket.
"When they come into Indian team, they come in with enough games behind them. That helps them perform really well. You give them the platform, give them a bit of confidence. They have the quality, and that is why they are here. And they perform really well."
India will have selection headaches now if Rohit Sharma makes it for the second Test in Mirpur, or when Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Shami return. Rohit has not yet reached Bangladesh, and the status on his availability for the second Test is still awaited. The difference Rohit's return makes will be nominal because India know well that it was their bowling that set up the win in Chattogram.
"The first-innings bowling gave us a lot of time in the Test," Rahul said. "If Bangladesh had gone on to get 300-350, this game was headed towards a draw. We would have tried to make a game out of it, we would have tried to give ourselves a chance, but it would have been really hard.
"Once you bundle a team out for 150, it gives you a lot of time. We could bat another 50-60 overs, score some quick runs, put them into bat again for two days and a bit. That gave us the time to get them out."