Rohit Sharma pinpoints where India lost the Hyderabad Test

Rohit Sharma has commented on India's loss in the opening Test of the five-match series against England on Sunday. India faced a shock 28-run defeat against England in the first Test of the five-match series held in Hyderabad after a masterclass from Ollie Pope and debutant Tom Hartley.

The loss left skipper Rohit Sharma contemplating where the team fell short and expressing his disappointment in the team's performance.

Rohit did not mince his words when he stated that the Indian team was not “brave enough” during their second innings where they were chasing 231 for victory. While it was a tough score to chase in the fourth innings of a Test in India, this Hyderabad pitch was playing better than usual surfaces India play on at home. 

Rohit emphasized the importance of showing character and courage, especially when faced with adversity, like India did when they were set that daunting total on the back of Pope’s brilliant 196, hailed by Ben Stokes as the greatest knock by an English batter in the sub-continent.

“When you are put against a wall, you need to show character and you need to be brave enough, which I thought we weren't,” Rohit said in a post-match interview. 

“We wanted to take some chances… we didn't take chances with the bat. But that can happen.”

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The match began with India taking a massive 190-run first-innings lead, which led many to believe that victory was within their grasp. 

However, England's Ollie Pope had different plans as he produced an exceptional knock of 196 runs off 278 balls in the second innings, taking England's total to 420 and giving them a 230-run lead. 

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The Indian skipper lauded Pope's performance, stating that it was probably the best he had seen from an overseas batter in Indian conditions.

“You got to take your hat off and say ‘well played' to Ollie Pope. That was some serious knock,” Rohit acknowledged. “Having gotten the lead of 190, we thought we were very much in the game, but then… exceptional batting, probably the best that I have seen in Indian conditions by an overseas batter.”

Despite the daunting target, Rohit believed that it was achievable, considering the pitch conditions. “I definitely thought 230 was gettable, there wasn't too much in the pitch, but we didn't bat well enough to get to the score,” he added.

Rohit Sharma
Photo by Icon Sport

The loss in Hyderabad marked only the third time overall and the first time at home that India had lost a Test match after securing a first-innings lead of more than 100 runs. While some may question whether the blame should fall on the bowlers, Rohit Sharma defended their performance, stating that they had executed their plans well.

“I went and checked where we bowled [after the third day], and I thought we bowled in the right areas,” Rohit said. “Overall we failed as a team. We didn't bat well enough to get to that score [in the second innings].”

Rohit also took a moment to commend India's lower-order batters, who showed resilience and determination. When the team was struggling at 119 for 7 in the 41st over, it seemed like the match was slipping away. 

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However, KS Bharat and R Ashwin formed a crucial 57-run partnership for the eighth wicket, and even Jasprit Bumrah and the No. 11 batsman, Mohammed Siraj, contributed by adding 25 runs and prolonging the game.

“I wanted them to take the game to the fifth day; 20-30 runs anything is possible,” Rohit said, recognizing the efforts of the lower order. “The lower order fought really well and showed the top order that you need to fight it out.”

India will be keen to rectify their mistakes and learn from this experience as they prepare for the upcoming Tests in the series. They slipped to fifth in the ICC World Test Championship table on the back of this defeat, but can climb up still if they manage a good comeback in this series. 

The skipper's assessment of the team's performance serves as a wake-up call for the hosts, who appeared over-confident of the series result a week ago.


Rohit is an experienced cricket writer based in India