Test century is most satisfying: Virat
Bengaluru, Sep 2: When he scored 58 runs in the first Test, in Hyderabad, Virat Kohli said, “After scoring 60-odd runs, it’s a crime for a batsman to get out.” By scoring a century in his very next Test innings, in Bengaluru, Virat once again showed what a quick learner he is.
With the team struggling at 67 for three, Virat came in and steadied the ship with a mature and patient knock against the rampaging Tim Southee, who ended up with career best figures of seven for 64. Virat’s 103 runs off 193 balls helped India post 353 in their first innings, hence denying New Zealand a sizeable lead.
In the post-day press conference, Virat spoke about his knock, the change of roles when batting at No.3 and 5 and the team’s strategy moving forward.
On whether India have an edge in the Test
Well, we’d like to think so. The morning session was really nice for them. But now that we look back after taking nine wickets, it played in our favour, because there’s still two more days to go. Knowing that the opposition have two days to chase down the total can put pressure on you. Tomorrow if we take the early wicket, we have a lot of time to chase down that score.
On whether having ample time on hand will help India focus on the target itself
That’s what I said time does to you. When you have a lot of time, you don’t have to think about the target, you just play normal cricket. I don’t think the wicket is doing too much for us to be worried about the target. If we think we have to bat three-four sessions, we should be in a good position to win the match.
On whether the failure of the top order puts more pressure on him
It’s not about pressure. I like playing in pressure situations. There, the bowler attacks you more and you have more opportunity to score runs. When you go in at 180 for two, their tactics will be different – they’ll try to not let you score. In a pressure situation, I always think that the field is open and they’ll attack the stumps, so I have more chances to score runs.
On whether the wicket will assist spinners on the fourth day
No, like I said, the wicket doesn’t have that much. Their seam bowlers bowled well in the morning. I think the morning freshness of the wicket that stays for about an hour is the only factor, and they used that well. Apart from that if we apply ourselves, I think we’ll be in a good position.
On how satisfying it was to get his second Test hundred
It’s always satisfying to get a Test hundred. People have asked me this earlier as to which 100 is most special to me and I said the 100 in Adelaide against Australia. I didn’t have that feeling ever in my life, before or after – and I felt it today again. I think that is the most satisfying – when you’re being tested and your patience is being tested, your technique is tested and you manage to score a hundred. It always pleases a batsman. And even the situation I went in to bat, it was really important for the team to come out of that. I’m fortunate that I could be that guy for the team. I could have gone on to make it a big one, but a Test hundred is always a satisfying feeling.
On his dismissal
That was the only ball in my innings in which I didn’t look at the bowler’s hand. All the balls I played before that, I was looking at their hands. That one he bowled cross seam and I didn’t look. That was a lapse in concentration and you just need one to get out in international cricket. Again, it’s a lesson for me to be learnt and hopefully when I cross that 100 mark next time I can be as concentrated and make it a big one.
On the crowd in the stadium
It’s very important for cricketers to have people supporting you. Even if you play in a country outside India, and the crowd is not supporting you but you see a lot of people come in, you always feel that people are really keen and they’re watching and appreciating what you’re doing. Even in Hyderabad we had really good crowds, so it was very pleasing to see both these venues having big crowds coming in for the Test matches. As a cricketer you always feel nice when people come out and support you and cheer for your team. It could help you in situations where things are not going right for you, you get one wicket and the crowd’s behind you, things could turn around pretty quickly. And the opposition feels the pressure as well.
On how different it is to bat at No. 3 and 5
It’s very different. The mindset that you need is very different if you’re batting in the top three or when u come in the middle order. Batting in top three, you know that you’re ready to go in and be a part of the action. You know that with a new ball, the opposition might get a wicket. Being in the middle order it’s a bit different. You might be in at the 10th over or you might come in at 200 for three. Being padded up, you need to concentrate for long hours even before going in to bat. I’ve been used to batting at three in ODIs, so I can talk from a personal point of view that I’m always prepared to go in, I’m always charged up and on the go. It could be a tricky situation but I’ll learn along the way how to manage my time off the field when there’s a partnership going on.
On his increased ball-leaving percentage in the last year
Yes, I have brought about a conscious change in my batting in that regard. In the first Test, I thought I played too many attacking shots because we hadn’t played any practice match and we were playing a Test after seven months. Personally, I thought it was difficult to adapt suddenly. And then we batted first too. When you have played some practice games and are in that mindset, that makes a difference. In the first Test, some shots went off my bat instinctively, but it wasn’t my intention to play the ball. So I worked on that for this game. I thought that they will bowl in the areas that I have got out before and try to get me hitting in the gaps. So like I did in Australia, where I let the bowler come to me, I thought I’ll leave the ball more and defend more. That worked in my favour.