Ravichandran Ashwin has defended the Indian batsmen after the visitors failed to chase down a modest 194-run target set by England in the first Test at Edgbaston.India had a good opportunity of taking a series lead and despite a fabulous effort by Virat Kohli, the other batsmen let their captain down when it mattered the most. India folded for 162 and lost the match by 31 runs handing England a 1-0 lead in the five-match Test series.Kohli’s first innings 149 had kept India in the game. He then scored a composed 51 to keep India in the hunt during their chase but he failed to find any kind of support from the other end. There was absolutely no support from the top-order which included Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul and Ajinkya Rahane.While Kohli made 200 runs in the Test, the other four in the top-five aggregated only 99. Dhawan, Rahul and Rahane were guilty of injudicious shot selection – after a solid start in their reply to England’s first innings 287, Vijay and Dhawan departed quickly. Rahul and Rahane failed to build partnerships with their captain as Kohli battled on heroically for his maiden Test hundred in England.MATCH HIGHLIGHTS | SCORECARD | AS IT HAPPENED | MATCH REPORT”It was quite a tough pitch to bat on. I don’t think batsmen from both sides were able to make runs with a lot of freedom barring the partnership between Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow in the first innings, and then Virat Kohli from our side. It has been quite a struggle that way so I think we need to give batsmen some space,” Ashwin said at the post match press conference.advertisement”This was a game where we would have liked to finish on the winning side. No doubt about it. But there are a lot of things we can feel proud of at the end of this game. It’s a long Test series so to feel defeated or pained so early on in the series is unfair,” he added.ALSO READ – Virat Kohli missed one for a change and that changed the game: Ben StokesAshwin, who picked seven wickets in the match, said India competed throughout the match.”When you make runs and pick up wickets, you want to make sure that it is a killer blow [to the opposition] and you want to end up on the winning side. It gives you more pleasure out of the game and when it doesn’t happen, you feel a little deflated about it. This game was like a see-saw battle and there was enough in there for the pacers,” said Ashwin.”So they were always in the game and you do expect batsmen to get a ball that has their name on it. With that sort of a game hedging on the balance, I thought we competed really well throughout. There are a lot of things to be upbeat about, so [I am] not completely feeling deflated,” he said.ICC trolls Virat Kohli with mic drop tweet after India lose Edgbaston TestThe off-spinner said he believes that the current Indian team has it in them to bounce back in the series.”When Virat and Dinesh [Karthik] walked out I genuinely believed we had the aces in our hands. And that wicket, the first blow was quite crucial. Our talk in the morning was about trying to stick together and be behind every one that walks out to bat. I thought we did pretty well, and even when Umesh [Yadav] was batting, our hopes were alive.”We did think that if Hardik could lay his hands on a couple big shots we were in the game. I have been on tours since 2011 and that way this team has got a really positive vibe in terms of at least believing that we can pull it off from any stage. We have done it in the past, particularly in the last three or four away tours that we have been on. [But] If you have to win a Test series in England, that too a five-Test series, we will have to pull off something special at some stage,” he said.Ashwin said that his county stint with Worcestershire in 2017 was a learning experience.”Personally there were quite a few learnings (sic) from my stint last year here. Not just in terms of pure skill but also how the game is being read here, how players go about their business in terms of pacing out their innings, how much the Duke’s ball does in the first 40 overs, etc. Those are the learnings (sic) I had and as a spinner I feel the ball is definitely different to Kookaburra and SG.advertisement”I think Duke’s is number one, Kookaburra is second, and SG is number three on the list [of spinner’s preference] where it stands today. And how wide my grip can be, how close I can get to it as the ball moves on and I felt like the ball was slipping also when I came last time for Worcester. So that was also in my mind when I came this time,” Ashwin said.Virat Kohli wants his batsmen to look in the mirror after Edgbaston defeatAshwin said he does not worry about what critics say and focuses on enjoying the game.”I have just decided to enjoy my cricket and stop reading about anything. I think that’s a good way to fire myself up. My personal experience in the last 59 Tests has been the same and it is not going to be any different moving forward because as the game comes to an end I find myself at the end of the same circle. And the circle moves back to the starting point. I will ideally keep myself to the same starting point to keep the circle going,” he signed off.STAT – Adelaide 2014, Birmingham 2018: Virat Kohli let down by India’s other batsmenThe second Test between India and England will be played at the Lord’s from August 9.