Cricket

Cannot win Tests if you lose wickets in clusters, says Virat Kohli

Delivering the goods: Jasprit Bumrah, who made an impressive Test debut, came in for praise from the Indian skipper.

Delivering the goods: Jasprit Bumrah, who made an impressive Test debut, came in for praise from the Indian skipper.  

South Africa skipper du Plessis all praise for Philander’s commitment

India captain Virat Kohli did not blame the side’s lack of preparation ahead of the series for the defeat in the first Test here on Monday.

He said, “We were very well prepared. But I think we let ourselves down with the bat. Losing wickets in clusters never helps.”

Kohli added, “We were happy in the dressing room at lunch when we dismissed them. [Jasprit] Bumrah bowled beautifully on his debut and [Mohammed] Shami bowled his heart out.

“We felt we could chase 208, it felt very realistic, but again we needed someone to go out there and get 75 or 80 and not 25 or 30 runs; we wanted a big partnership.”

The Indian batsmen needed to step up in these conditions, felt Kohli. “If your batsmen don’t bat well then it doesn’t matter if you are not getting close to their total, it doesn’t matter if you have taken 20 wickets or not. Hardik Pandya showed great character in the first innings, but we need more such efforts.”

Dwelling on the pitch, Kohli said, “The pitch was outstanding. Both teams enjoyed playing on it. I think it was great for Test cricket and there was a result in four days despite losing a day’s play.”

Sharing his thoughts on the exclusion of vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane from the eleven, Kohli said, “Well, we decided to go on current form. Rohit [Sharma] has been scoring runs and he was batting well even in the Test series against Sri Lanka. These things can always be looked at in hindsight.”

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis conceded he was a tad apprehensive at lunch when his side needed to defend 207.

“Definitely I was nervous. I knew that the new ball was going to be the key for us and that if we could get wickets with the new ball we felt we can get through their batting line-up.

“I came here this morning hoping to get a 350 lead and bowl to them tonight, so obviously that didn’t go to plan!” du Plessis congratulated his pace bowlers.

“We’ve got fantastic seam bowlers. Vernon [Philander] and the other two guys are amazing. And if we had Dale [Steyn] there today, I reckon we would have rolled them out cheaper.”

He was all praise for Philander’s commitment.

“If there’s something in the wicket, he’s as good as you get around the world. What impressed me most today was he wanted to bowl more overs.

He didn’t say after three or four overs ‘That’s enough’.”

The South Africa captain agreed with Kohli about this Test of several twists being a fantastic game of cricket.

He was appreciative of the Indian pacemen, who, he said, could seam as well as swing the ball, and acknowledged he did not expect Bumrah to play.

On Steyn’s injury that ruled him out of the series, du Plessis said, “I feel incredibly bad for Dale. He was back bowling at his best in the Test before the injury happened.”

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 10:58:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/cannot-win-tests-if-you-lose-wickets-in-clusters-says-virat-kohli/article22400122.ece

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