London: Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane on Thursday blamed the Indian team's much-vaunted batting line-up's failure to complement the bowlers for their Test series defeat in England.
India were repeatedly bowled out during the Test series as England grabbed an unassailable 3-1 lead with the fifth and final Test starting here at the Oval on Friday.
"Patience is the key in England, whether you bat or bowl. You got to bowl in the same areas for a longer period of time. Maybe as a batsman, you have to leave the ball for a longer period of time," Rahane said. "We feel bad as our bowlers bowled so well and we as batting group could not support them when we are a experienced group. I think we as batting group fell short.
"When you are on tour you work so hard and prepare so well and then one department performs well then it is the responsibility of other group to back them."
Talking about his batting, Rahane said, "I didn't get many runs but I got 50-odd and 80-odd in the last two matches. The way I am batting, I am middling the ball really well. Batting is all about confidence. I would like to contribute a little more to my team.
"During this last match I will definitely give my best and I have prepared myself really well. Preparation from beginning till now is similar, whether you are 3-1 down or up. I am just going to enjoy my batting."
Rahane said that the world's number one Test side will look to finish this long tour on a winning note. "Definitely it is an important Test match. The series stands at 3-1 and we want to give our best and finish on a winning note. Especially since, I feel we played some good cricket but England played better than us," said Rahane.
"In Test cricket you have to give more than 100 percent in each and every session. I felt England particularly won small and important sessions. Their bowling unit bowled really well. This is going to be the last test. We are focussed on performing well in this last test and if we can win this test and go back 3-2 then that will be really good," he said.
Rahane believes England are a strong team at home. "Every team plays really well at home nowadays. England have played better cricket than us, especially in their bowling and batsmen in both teams have struggled a lot. Only Virat (Kohli) has batted really well in these conditions," he said.
"But England definitely, in their conditions, are a very good team and very experienced team with James Anderson and Stuart Broad in their attack. Moeen (Ali) bowled really well in the last game. They can do really well abroad as well but at home every team is really strong."
India could make a couple changes for this game, with Ravindra Jadeja lining up to replace R Ashwin, who is recovering from a hip injury, and Hanuma Vihari in line for a debut Test.
Rahane, however, didn't confirm the changes for the fifth Test. "Patrick (Farhart, physio) will be a better judge to answer that. But he played last Test in Southampton, bowled really well and he fielded really well so I don't think there's an issue with his fitness," said Rahane.
"Our team is not announced yet. Talking about Hanuma, he has been doing really well in the domestic season. We have to wait and see what the captain and coach think about team combination."
He singled out skipper Kohli for praise, who has scored 500-plus runs in this series but didn't find support from other batsmen.
"...the way he (Kohli) conducted himself and the consistency he showed was amazing. Many people were saying many things about him about whether he will be able to score runs in England. But Virat concentrated on his cricket and that is what we learn from him," he said.
Rahane said that the difference in conditions whilst touring remains one of the key challenges for this Indian team. "While playing in India you know the conditions. When you are touring then you have to give 100 percent in each and every session...How well you can play in tough situations and capitalize on when you are in commanding position and capture that situation," he said.
"I think England team did that so well. When they were in tough situation their number 7-8-9s' contribution was so vital. Even though we were batting so well they persisted with patience. I think that is why they are up 3-1."
This will be Alastair Cook's last international match for England and the Indian vice-captain paid him a rich tribute. "He made his debut against India in India. He has been fantastic for England cricket. As an opening batsman, he has averaged around 45, playing 160 Test matches in 12-13 years is great," Rahane said.
"Credit to him the way he has handled his batting, his technique and all the pressure from English media. Since Ashes till now, the media have put him under pressure. But he has been fantastic and I would like to wish him all the best for his post-cricketing career ahead."
Beating India 4-1 would be a strong statement: Root
Meanwhile, getting ready for an emotional week ahead, England skipper Joe Root says they want to conjure up a perfect send-off for Cook in the final Test, where a win will also send a strong statement to the world.
"My full focus has been on making sure we win this game. It's been an area we've not got right in the past and to beat the number one side in the world and make it 4-1 would send a really strong statement of where we are at as a team and where we are looking to go as a team. It would sum up a good summer of cricket for us in difficult conditions," Root said on the eve of final Test.
The hosts have named their playing eleven without any changes. Jonny Bairstow will keep wickets again with Moeen Ali slated to bat at number three. Root will bat at number four and said that the competition for keeping between Bairstow and Jos Buttler is healthy.
"Moeen has played exceptionally well for his county at three and he wants to do it, feels very comfortable there. The way he batted in his first innings in the last Test, I know it was down the order, but that style of batting could get us off to a really good start and a great chance of taking things on from there. With the winter coming up it might be the way to go, gives us great options.
"Four is definitely my preferred position, where I think I'll get the best out of myself as a player and a captain. So I'd have never known that if I'd never given myself the opportunity to bat at number three and I thought it was the right thing to do by the rest of the team and gave us the best chance of winning."