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This series was a great advertisement for Test cricket - Virat Kohli

The India captain lauds efforts of KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant and wants the team to close out games after coming close

An epic series between India and England concluded with England winning the final Test by 118 runs, to clinch the series 4-1.

This Test series between the two sides was closely contested and was a great exhibition of the toughest format of the game.

The final day of the final Test was a display of character as we saw two well-deserved centuries from the likes of KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant. Captain Virat Kohli gave credit to the two youngsters after their stupendous knocks.

“A lot of credit has to go to both those young guys, stepping up at such a difficult stage, three wickets down for two runs. Ajinkya Rahane got stuck in with KL but I think the way KL and Rishabh batted showed the kind of character that we’ve got in the team and the kind of cricket that we’ve played in the series.

“It might not show in the scoreline but both the sides know that it’s been a competitive series, it’s taken a lot out of both the sides, and it’s been something that we’ve really enjoyed. We’ve taken up the challenge head-on, and today was an example of two guys not giving up and actually entertaining the crowd. As I said, this is probably the revival of Test cricket again and shows people what it means to all of us, and for people watching as well, it’s a great advertisement for Test cricket.

“To be brutally honest, we didn’t speak about if we can win this game or not. The basic idea was to go out and play the game that we are known to play, whatever we feel confident about. When those two guys started hitting the ball well, we felt that there might be hope because those two were scoring runs freely and there were overs, but we knew England is a professional side, and they will tighten up things. We were just waiting and watching.

“Very quickly things can change in Test cricket and we realised that with KL falling and then Rishabh falling as well that the situation can become totally different within the span of two-three overs. That’s the beauty of this format as well. That’s to take nothing away from those two guys who showed heart, especially someone like Rishabh who’s new to Test cricket, he has shown a lot of grit and character.

Virat, who was named Man of the Series from India said that the team now needs to close out games after coming very close to the finish line. “KL’s been around for a while but this guy comes in and plays a knock like that when he’s not sure of how the few innings went before that. It tells us that we have character in the team, we just need more experience and how to close out situations. We have the belief in the team as well,” he concluded.

BCCI Desk

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We have gained momentum at the right time - Virat Kohli

Team India Captain expects England to be highly motivated ahead of the fourth Test here at The Ageas Bowl.

After winning the third Test at Trent Bridge, Virat Kohli feels that the hosts will come highly motivated, going into the fourth Test. “If Nottingham was hard work this is going to be even harder because England would want to come back strong and we understand that. We will have to do even better than we did in Nottingham to be able to get results our way,” said Virat in a press conference on the eve of the fourth Test against England.

India produced an all-round performance in the previous Test to defeat the hosts by 203 runs. While the Indian pace battery comprising Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami along with medium pacer Hardik Pandya were operative in the victory, the Indian captain ruled out the scenario of going in with an all-pace attack for the Southampton Test.

“I doubt that an all-pace attack is the right option. It doesn’t make much sense I guess, because last time we played here, the spinners came into play in the second innings. There were big footmarks. Seeing things the way they are right now, we don’t feel we need to change anything,” he added.

After drawing the first Test and winning the second encounter in the 2014 series, India were defeated in Southampton by 266 runs, eventually losing the series 3-1.

This time, the Indian skipper is calling for his players to capitalise on the momentum they have gathered after victory in the third Test. “The last time around I can’t really pinpoint what we did wrong, maybe England played much better than us or we probably didn’t have the experience to capitalise on the lead. That's how I see things four years down the line.

“Right now we understand that we are in a very exciting position to have gained momentum at the right time in the series and to have played like that when 2-0 down, when everyone thought it was going to be a clean sweep or we were going to get rolled over,” Virat added.

When asked if the batsmen, including him, will have to change their techniques to adapt to the pitch in Southampton, he said, “I don't think there's any need to change the way I've played so far in this series, or other batsmen the way they played in the last game.

“If the wicket is behaving totally different, you have to be flexible adjusting there and not having pre-set notions about going out wanting to play a certain way.

“Apart from the pitch, conditions are going to be a massive factor as well because it's cold for the last couple of days and it's going to remain like that from what I understand. We will have to assess the situation every hour I guess because it can change very rapidly,” he signed off.

Rajlaxmi Arora
Rajlaxmi Arora

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