India vs England: Virat Kohli bemoans lack of application from top order batsmen
Dejected Indian cricket team skipper Virat Kohli asked his top-order batsmen to get their act together after failure to negotiate swing in both innings undermined the team as England pulled off a thrilling 31-run victory in the Edgbaston Test on Saturday. (IND v ENG 1st Test Day 4 highlights)
Kohli top-scored with 149 in the first innings and 51 in the second but was left to almost single-handedly pull off victory as the next best score was all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s 31 on the fourth morning of the Test.
Having conceded the lead after India were in a great position to drive home the advantage after bowling out England for 180 in the second innings to be left to make 194 for victory, Kohli praised the hosts for winning the bowling-dominated game, but wasn’t impressed with the batsmen.
“England were relentless on the final day. We will take the positives, and we showed some character there. The bowlers showed great character,” he said at the post-match presentation after the game ended before lunch on Day 4.
So, what did India lack, he was asked at the presentation ceremony. “(Batting) application,” Kohli said. “There is a lot to learn from the lower order. As the top order, we have to look at ourselves in the mirror.”
Kohli said the defeat should not lead to negativity in the batting group but they should go away and work out how they can turn things around in conditions that are helpful to batsmen.
In a bowler-dominated match, India’s top three were a huge letdown. Openers M Vijay (20 & 6), Shikhar Dhawan (26 & 13) and KL Rahul (4 & 13) helped add only 50 and 32. England made 135 and 22 with the first innings contribution bolstered by skipper Joe Root’s 80.
India suffered heartbreak in the Adelaide Test on the 2014-15 tour, despite Kohli scoring back-to-back centuries. While the India skipper put his Edgbaston knock only behind the second innings effort in Adelaide, both games ended in defeat.
In Adelaide, Kohli as stand-in skipper, hit 141 in the second innings to lead a brilliant chase but a collapse saw the visitors lose by 48 runs. At Edgbaston, India were 53 short when the skipper fell, and they lost by 31 runs.
Off-spinner R Ashwin, who returned a seven-wicket haul, defended the batsmen. “It was quite a tough pitch to bat on. I don’t think batsmen from both the sides were able to make runs with a lot of freedom, barring the partnership in the first innings between Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow and Virat and Hardik. It has been quite a struggle that way, so we got to give batsmen some space,” he told the post-match news conference.
Although it was a close run thing, Ashwin said the team had given its best and hence it had nothing to feel too bad about. “It was a game we would have liked to finished on the winning side. (But) I didn’t feel that bad or hurt. We did not close out, but when you travel, that can happen.
“It is an away tour, we will have to pull off something special,” he said, looking ahead.