• Friday, July 19, 2024


Kohli confident of India ‘template’ in ‘blockbuster’ England series

Virat Kohli is no more India captain in any format. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

By: Sarwar Alam

India captain Virat Kohli said his side had the “right template” for the remainder of their “blockbuster” series against England after enjoying the better of a rain-marred draw in the first Test.

The tourists were frustrated in their bid to go 1-0 up in a five-match contest when rain washed out the whole of Sunday’s last day at Trent Bridge, with India stranded on 52-1 in pursuit of a victory target of 209.

By that stage, however, they had already dismissed the hosts for just 183 after England captain Joe Root won the toss.

And but for Root making 64 in that lowly first-innings total and 109 in England’s second innings 303, India might well have won a match where more than two days’ play was lost to bad weather.

Jasprit Bumrah led an impressive display by India’s four-man pace attack, with a match haul of 9-110 while recalled opener KL Rahul (84) and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, whose first-innings 56 came after he had been preferred as a specialist spinner after Ravichandran Ashwin, was dropped made valuable runs.

“Most likely it will be a template going ahead in the series,” Kohli, speaking at the presentation ceremony, said of an XI that featured an extra seamer compared to the two spinners India deployed in a World Test Championship final loss to New Zealand at Southampton in June.

“But again adaptability has been a strength of ours as well,” added the star batsman, out for a golden duck to James Anderson in Nottingham, ahead of the second Test at Lord’s starting on Thursday.

“This looks like the right template for us moving forward.”

Kohli, whose side beat Root’s men 3-1 in India earlier this year, insisted: “It is going to be an exciting series to watch and be part of. India-England is always a blockbuster so expect a lot of exciting cricket.”

– ‘On top of the game’ –

Reflecting on events at Trent Bridge, the 32-year-old Kohli, looking to lead India to just their fourth series win in England, said: “We thought we were in a good position to have a crack at the target. And would have been a really nice, interesting day of Test cricket, would have been enjoyable to watch and certainly enjoyable to be part of. So, yeah, it’s a shame that weather prevailed in the end.

“This is exactly what we wanted to do: we wanted to start strong. Heading to day five we had our chances right in front of us.

“We certainly felt like we were on top of the game. We bowled well enough and batted well enough to stay in the contest and then getting that lead (India were 95 runs ahead on first innings) was crucial which kept us on top throughout the game.”

England, without Ben Stokes to bail them out now the star all-rounder is taking an indefinite break from cricket, endured more top-order misery barely disguised by player of the match Root’s two innings.

The England skipper’s 21st Test hundred came after he walked into bat at 46-2 — the 14th time in 18 innings this year they had failed to reach 50 before losing their second wicket, with the team’s fallible close catching another ongoing concern.

“There are still certain areas we want to get better at,” said Root. “Obviously, we want to score more runs at the top of the order and take all the chances we create.

“But Test cricket challenges you, you’ve got to keep a strong character and keep turning up every day trying to get better.”

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