By Martyn Herman
LONDON (Reuters) – Defeated India skipper Virat Kohli took some comfort from a 4-1 drubbing in England, saying the series had revived test cricket.
The final scoreline was harsh on the world’s top-ranked test nation who played a full part in an unpredictable series full of twists and turns, right up to the final day.
India lost a memorable Oval test by 118-runs on Tuesday — a match that will be forever remembered as the farewell of England’s most-capped test player and run scorer Alastair Cook.
Cook’s century on Monday was the highlight but India made sure the series did not end in anti-climax thanks to an audacious chase of 464 for victory.
A superb 149 by opener KL Rahul and a scintillating 114 by 20-year-old wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant, including 15 fours and four sixes, meant from a hopeless position of two for three on Monday, India began to dream of a world-record run chase.
It was not to be but Kohli, who averaged 59 in the five tests, scoring two centuries, said his team did him proud, picking out Rahul and Pant for special praise.
“Credit has to go to both those young guys for stepping up on this stage. From three wickets down, it take guts,” he said.
“That was an example of two guys not giving up and entertaining the crowd.
“This is probably the revival of test cricket and shows what it means to us, a great advert for test cricket.
“We didn’t speak about the result, we just wanted to go out and see what happened, waiting and watching, things can change very quickly. That’s the beauty of this format.”
While India were thrashed at Lord’s the defeats at Edgbaston, Southampton and the Oval all could have gone the other way with little between the sides.
“Definitely think we will sit down and think about, if we had taken those opportunities, we missed quite few,” he said.
“When both teams are going for wins, you can have a result that looks like that (4-1), they don’t go for draws.
“You hardly have any draws in these tense series and that’s what the scoreline shows. I’m not saying it wasn’t a fair scoreline, because they played better than us, but we can take a lot of heart and apply lessons to how we play test cricket.”
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)