India captain Virat Kohli has hailed KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant for putting up a fight against England in the fifth and final Test match at The Oval. India lost the match by 118 runs on Tuesday, thus suffering a 1-4 series.
Chasing an improbable target of 464 runs in London, India found themselves at 2/3 inside the first four overs with Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara and Kohli gone.
"Guys like KL [Rahul], who hadn't had a great run, but still goes and plays like that. Guys want to take up their responsibility and want to be in the fight. Rishabh was doubtful after a few innings and then he comes and plays like that as well. I mean that partnership was something like a great show of character," Kohli said after the match.
Rahul, who managed just 150 runs in his previous nine innings in the series, first stopped the slide with Ajinkya Rahane. They posted a 118-run fourth-wicket stand. But two wickets in quick succession, those of Rahane and debutant Hanuma Vihari, left India at 121/5.
Then, Rahul and Pant posted a 204-run stand for the sixth wicket to give India an outside chance of pulling off the chase. Both the batsmen scored their respective hundreds, before falling to Adil Rashid. While they were in the centre, a win was within India's reach.
"Not many people will realise it but they look at it as if we might not have been interested or might not have had motivation, but that wasn't the case, clearly, because they were going for the win and these guys just batted really well. All credit to them that they played the game with the right attitude, and they respected the game totally."
India lost the remaining wickets for just 17 runs as England wrapped up the match, and series.