“We are by no means excluding them”

Team India captain Rohit Sharma said the hosts will not take things for granted despite Australia’s one-innings 132-run defeat in the first Test in Nagpur. He backed the Aussies to make a strong comeback, but added that they would be up for the challenge.

India defeated Australia within three days in the first Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test on Saturday, February 11. After India posted 400 in their first innings, the Australian’s second innings lasted just 32.3 overs as they were bundled out for 91.

India had a somewhat similar start to the 2020-21 series. in Australia when they were bowled out for 36 in their second innings of the opening Test in Adelaide. The guests, however, fought back in a heroic manner and won the series.

Asked if India expected the Aussies to bounce back in the same way, Rohit said in the post-match press conference:

“Good. Australia is always a good team. The good thing about this team is that we don’t think about what happened in the past. It’s important to stay in the present. A lot of guys who played in that series are not here because of Australia. We’re missing a few guys too .

“Australia loves to play Test cricket. They are proud to come and represent their country. We are quite aware of their return. We are quite aware of what we can do as a team. We are by no means excluding them. We want to play the cricket we played in this game.”

Rohit Sharma said, “Jadeja had 249 wickets, he asked me for the ball, Ashwin had 4 wickets, he asked me for the ball – that’s the challenge I face, these guys know the milestones very well (big smile)”.

The 35-year-old added that he was surprised by Australia’s capitulation in the second innings. According to Rohit, the pitch on the third day was quite good for batting. The Indian opener explained:

“No, I didn’t (expect Australia to be kicked out so soon). I thought the field was good. We were prepared to have hard days of bowling and spending time on the field, session after session.

“We never thought they were going to throw them out in the session. The game got slow and slow. There wasn’t a lot of bounce in the game. It was a bit of a surprise.”

Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took 5/37 as only four Australians reached double figures in the second innings.

“I don’t know the mental state of the Australian team” – Rohit Sharma

Asked if he felt the current Indian team was mentally stronger than Australia, Rohit said he could only talk about his team. The right-handed batsman stated:

“I don’t know the mental state of the Australian team. I can certainly vouch for our team because we are the ones who want to play on these types of fields. It’s not just now. We have been playing on these types of courts for the last three or four years.”

Rohit led from the front for India with the bat, scoring a superb 120 off 212 balls, a knock that featured 15 fours and two sixes.

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Edited by Renin Wilben Albert

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