India captain Virat Kohli (right) celebrates the wicket of Australia's Mitchell Marsh in Bangalore on Tuesday.(REUTERS)
India captain Virat Kohli (right) celebrates the wicket of Australia's Mitchell Marsh in Bangalore on Tuesday.(REUTERS)

Virat Kohli the perfect ring-master as India clinch thrilling win vs Australia

Virat Kohli was everywhere in the field. It was his encouraging words to his bowlers, and bowling changes that were spot on that rallied the hosts to a thrilling victory with a day to spare
By N Ananthanarayanan | Hindustan Times, Bangalore, Bangalore
UPDATED ON MAR 07, 2017 05:35 PM IST

Virat Kohli was all animated on Tuesday as the Indian skipper played the perfect puppeteer to pull off a spectacular 75-run victory over Australia in the second Test to level the four-match series 1-1 at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. (DAY 4 HIGHLIGHTS)

The India skipper, never one to mince words in the middle, had a brief chat with counterpart Steven Smith to raise the heat as Australia chased 188 for victory on a wearing fourth day’s pitch.(SCORECARD)

However, it was his encouraging words to his bowlers, and bowling changes that were spot on that rallied the hosts to a thrilling victory with a day to spare.

After the match, Virat Kohli said that the Indian team had assessed the Bangalore right. India ditched their five-bowler policy, and included Karun Nair as the sixth specialist batsman at a venue where the India skipper’s IPL side Royal Challengers Bangalore are based.

“I don’t think so, because we knew the Bangalore wicket, since it has been relaid there have been only one or two bowlers doing the job. In this Test match as well, Nathan Lyon got eight in the first innings, then (Ravindra) Jadeja got six, (Josh) Hazlewood six and Ashwin six. One bowler has stood out, even in the first-class season we saw that.

“You know, from that feedback, we knew that we had to play an extra batsman just to strengthen the batting a bit, because we were shaken up in Pune a little bit. And you need guys to have that bit of cushion. So when you put runs on the board in either of the innings, then it helps the bowlers to come and put pressure on the batsmen.”

Live-wire on the field

Virat Kohli had bowled Ashwin for 49 overs in the Australian first innings and the off-spinner again bowled 12.4 of the total 35.4 overs.

It was his quick changes that stood out as Australia looked to score quickly and not be consumed by pressure.

Read more | India vs Australia: After Virat Kohli, DRS bloopers trouble Aussies now

Kohli first took left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja off after one over at the far end to bring on Umesh Yadav and the fast bowler delivered two early wickets. Then seeing Ishant Sharma, who struck first, was taken off after going for runs in one over, and Virat Kohli brought back Jadeja, who dried up the runs to pile on the pressure for Ashwin to strike at the other end.

Virat Kohli was all over the place. He first pleaded with Jadeja as he demanded a DRS review against Mitch Marsh, pleading with his bowler “Are you sure”, “Are you sure” before going for it. It proved unsuccessful but wasn’t too expensive in the end.

He ran up to Ishant to give tips, and then raced to Ashwin, at the opposite end, animatedly suggesting to the off-spinner that he should get the batsmen bat-pad.

Ashwin delivers

Ashwin, the world No 1 Test bowler, delivered, having Mitch Marsh as well as Mathew Wade caught off bat-pad, getting deliveries to rip off the rough at the far end, where Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon had taken 8/50 to dismiss India for 189 in the first innings.

Read more | Josh Hazlewood’s career-best 6/67 breaks India’s fightback in Bangalore Test

After Ashwin’s third strike to get Wade for nought, the India skipper was delightfully animated as the players walked back to the dressing room, quite confident the victory was close.

After tea, Ashwin ran through the batting claiming four wickets, finishing it off by having Nathan Lyon caught and bowled after Jadeja had bowled Steve O’Keefe at the other end to make it 110/9.

A large crowd that has turned up every day was baying for wicket off each delivery, even booing Steven Smith has he walked back after being dismissed, Kohli the aggressive leader seemed to be pulling the right strings once again.

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