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Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

Virat Kohli revels in India’s pace options, but wants team to close matches well

Virat Kohli, India captain, was happy with the way his pace bowlers performed against Bangladesh. He added that India needed to need to close a match in a better way

cricket Updated: Feb 13, 2017 19:27 IST
Khurram Habib
Khurram Habib
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
Virat Kohli (2L) and Indian teammates after winning the one-off Test against Bangladesh in Hyderabad.
Virat Kohli (2L) and Indian teammates after winning the one-off Test against Bangladesh in Hyderabad. (AFP)

The one-off Test between India and Bangladesh was expected to be more of a lesson for Bangladesh. So, when India skipper Virat Kohli was asked if there was anything that he learnt, he was quick to point out, “we didn’t close the match early”. (Day 5 highlights)

“The only thing we could have done better is close the second innings quickly. I think there was a bit of lapse in body language when they were 8 down. Closing off games is important, especially in Test cricket, you don’t want to give opposition any chance to get into the game. That’s something we need to keep repeating as a team,” said Kohli.

Read | R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja 4-wicket hauls give India 208-run win over Bangladesh

Things may have been tougher, were it not for the Indian pacers. In the first innings, Umesh Yadav jolted the top-order to put Bangladesh on the backfoot.

Then it was Ishant Sharma’s turn in the second innings. After the fall of two wickets in the first session on Monday, the final day, Sabbir Rahman and Mahmudullah had looked to offer resistance. However, Ishant Sharma struck, first trapping Sabbir leg-before and then having Mahmudullah caught at square leg off a short delivery.

The two had batted 18 overs and added 51 runs and were playing the spinner confidently.

“Umesh, Bhuvi and Ishant were brilliant but Umesh stood out (in first innings). Second innings, all three bowled really well but Ishant stood out. The way spinners contain runs, the pacers can attack as soon as it starts to reverse swing. I thought Ishant’s spell today was really good. He bowled with pace and took both the set batsmen out,” said Kohli.

The two wickets Ishant picked made things easy for the Indians as they tightened the noose around Bangladesh. India are reaping the benefits of having a battery of pace bowlers to pick from. Kohli terms them match-winners. He has a preference for five bowlers. Usually in India, he goes with three spinners and two pacers. Here, taking the wicket into account, he went in with three pacers.

“If you can have three to four seamers in your squad who are attacking bowlers and can get you wickets at any stage during the day, then it is a bonus. When we start going away from home, it is going to help us. You can score as many runs as you want but if you don’t pick wickets you won’t win a Test match. That’s why I call them match winners in the Test format anyday.”

First Published: Feb 13, 2017 19:27 IST

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