Virat Kohli felt losing the toss in Ranchi was a key factor in India's failure to land a third-Test victory over a battling Australia, with a draw leaving the series tied at 1-1.
The hosts restricted their opponents to 451 all out before Cheteshwar Pujara (202) took centre stage to set up a declaration for India after they passed 600 runs.
But, despite claiming two wickets late on Sunday, India could not finish the job on the final day as Steve Smith's side accepted the offer of a draw after digging deep to finish on 204-6, with Peter Handscomb (72 not out) and Shaun Marsh (53) particularly impressive.
"We got ourselves into a very good position," said Kohli, who saw Pujara and Wriddhiman Saha (117) form a 199-run partnership. "Losing the toss here was never easy. Not being able to take the field [due to a shoulder injury] and watching the opposition get big runs was difficult.
"But we batted beautifully – KL [Rahul] and Murali Vijay, but the partnership between Saha and Pujara is the best I have seen.
"After two wickets [on day four], we thought we had a good chance, but credit to the two batsmen [Handscomb and Marsh], they batted really well. Guys want to push the barrier, their physical limits, their mental toughness.
"Credit to Australia for playing out the draw, but we played ourselves into a position where we could win."
The captain reserved special praise for Pujara – who faced 525 deliveries in the longest stint ever completed by an India batsman – and Saha, and will hope to see them produce similar displays in the decider in Dharamsala, which begins on Saturday.
"Pujara is very motivated and he is really good at Test batting," added Kohli. "This is the best I have watched him bat.
"Saha did it in West Indies, he did it in Calcutta as well, and here under pressure, he really stood up.
"You feel happy for him because he is such a wonderful guy. Always smiling, always happy for whoever achieves anything.
"We have given our best here and as long as we keep doing that, I am sure we will get ourselves into winning positions."
25 de febrero 2018
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