Jadeja: I was looking to play normal cricket
Ravindra Jadeja certainly couldn't have asked for a better comeback.
- Published 10.09.18
Calcutta: Ravindra Jadeja certainly couldn't have asked for a better comeback.
First, with the ball in hand in the final Test at The Oval, his four wickets restricted England from reaching 350 or more in their first innings. Then with the bat, he and debutant Hanuma Vihari stitched a 77-run stand for the seventh wicket. Jadeja himself remained unbeaten on 86, limiting England's first innings lead to 40 and also keeping India alive in the game.
For sure, England again regained control by stumps, extending their lead to 154 with eight wickets still in hand and with two set batsmen - Alastair Cook and captain Joe Root. But Jadeja kept the pressure on in the second innings as well, having taken one wicket so far, that of Moeen Ali.
Jadeja feels restricting the hosts' lead to 250 will keep India's chances alive.
"I think we need to restrict them as early as possible, get as many wickets as possible in the first session (on Monday)... I think 250 will be the par score on this wicket," the all-rounder said on Sky Sports.
"As for my innings, it was after a long time that I was out there. I just looking to play normal cricket, I wasn't thinking about shot selection and all. I focused ball by ball.
"In English conditions, facing (James) Anderson and (Stuart) Broad is really difficult... So, I just prayed to play as long as I could. They were bowling really well then, swinging it both ways.
"After a long time, I was playing a relatively long innings. So yeah, I was getting a bit cramped," Jadeja added.
"But that's Test cricket. It tests your fitness, both physical and mental. Test cricket in real cricket."
On the seventh-wicket partnership with debutant Vihari, Jadeja said: "We did well.
"Initially, we were just talking to each other. We knew we needed to spend time in the middle. Anderson and Broad were bowling really well then, so Vihari and me just looked to play as long as we could.
"See, it's all about pride. Whenever you represent your country, you take pride in that. I think it was the same thing with both of us.
"We were telling ourselves that we don't need to look at the scoreboard and just need to keep on playing as long as we could."
Like Cheteshwar Pujara in Southampton, Jadeja too notched up crucial runs - 32 to be precise - batting with No. 11 Jasprit Bumrah.
"When me and Jasprit were batting, I was telling him that I would play four balls and then look for a single. With tailenders, you have to keep on counting how many balls you can face and how many you can let them face," said Jadeja.