India edged Bangladesh by 3 wickets in a thrilling Day-4 finish in Dhaka on Saturday to sweep the two-Test series 2-0. The visitors had won the first Test by 188 runs.
Resuming the day at 45 for four, India lost three quick wickets before Ashwin (42 not out) and Iyer (29 not out) shared an unbeaten 71-run stand for the eighth wicket to guide India home.
“You just trust the guys in the middle. There’s always belief but there were nerves; we are human. But we trusted the batters out,” Rahul said in the post-match presentation ceremony.
“Today, Ashwin and Shreyas did it with ease and style. Well done to them to earn India the win. We never thought it’d be a cakewalk, thought we needed to grind and work hard for runs…
“It was tougher with the new ball. We lost more wickets than we’d have liked. We’ve made mistakes but will look to learn and hopefully put a better performance if a similar situation arises in the future. Happy with our bowling depth in the last 6-7 years,” he added.
Rahul, who led India in the series in the absence of injured Rohit Sharma, was effusive in his praise for the team’s bowling unit.
“The series wins say a lot about how well we’ve groomed our pace attack. Ashwin and Axar (Patel) have also done really well. Umesh (Yadav) put his hands up, Jaydev (Unadkat) came in after a long time but bowled phenomenally well and probably deserved more wickets than he got. But the pressure helped Ashwin and Axar capitalise,” he said.
Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan felt one more wicket could have changed the result of the match. He, however, gave full credit to Iyer and Ashwin for their gritty effort with the bat.
“Everyone contributed, we’ve played well in this venue. Shreyas and Ashwin batted well under pressure. We needed one more wicket. We can think of lots of ifs and buts but happy with the way we fought,” he said.
“It was unfortunate I couldn’t bowl well in the first Test, but happy to have done well here. The mindset of the team makes me happy. Hopefully, we get better results next year.”
Man-of-the-match Ashwin, who picked up six wickets and scored 42 not out in India’s second innings, said he trusted his defence while coming out to bat on Sunday.
“I thought Bangladesh played really well. The game had to be won the hard way. In these situations, sometimes you feel you need to hit your way. They bowled well. But we needed to trust our defence. I wanted to get in and support Shreyas. Pitches were good though they were a touch slow.”
Cheteshwar Pujara was declared player-of-the-series for scoring 222 runs in two games.
“It’s been a hard series, the series was very competitive. I feel I’ve found my rhythm. A lot of hard work has been put in, I’ve played many first-class games and have worked on my game,” Pujara said. “(On first-class) If you look at the gap between Test series, playing first-class helps keep in touch. Each game is important with the WTC and you have to be on top of your game,” he said.
(With inputs from PTI)