Virat Kohli, the skipper of the Indian cricket team, has heaped praise on his bowling unit after they toiled hard to help the side secure a 31-run win in the Adelaide Test and take a 1-0 lead in the four-Test series. The victory was the first time India had won the first match of a Test series Down Under and they now have a realistic chance of securing their first-ever Test series win in Australia. Speaking in the post-match press conference, Kohli said the performance of the bowlers with the Kookaburra ball was exemplary.
“When the Kookaburra gets softer, it becomes difficult to get some assistance. Our fast bowlers still ran in and bowled with great heart. They have been able to sustain pressure. They are fitter and have more pace for a longer time. They can also contain. When you have four bowlers who can take 20 wickets and that too with a ball that does not offer so much, it is a proud moment,” Kohli said. In the last nine overseas Test matches, the likes of Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav have bowled out oppositions twice seven times. In South Africa, the bowling unit picked up 20 wickets in all the three Tests while in England, they did not bowl the opposition out in Lord’s and in the Oval Test.
Ashwin had specific role
Ravichandran Ashwin has had an improved showing in overseas contests as compared to the 2014/15 season. He started off well in Edgbaston when he picked up four wickets to nearly set-up a win for India. In Adelaide, he bowled a lot of overs and maintained a magnificent economy while taking six wickets.
“Ashwin was given a specific role. He was economical and bowled in the right areas to create enough chances and not give anything away. They were just looking for an opening. He controlled the game nicely and did not let it drift away. In the past, we have given away too many runs in one session. We did not give them a session where they got away from us. Awareness counts in this case,” Kohli said.
Pujara the difference
The Adelaide wicket was a tough one for batsmen. However, Cheteshwar Pujara proved to be the stand-out player with 123 and 71 in both innings as he held the batting together. In the second innings, his partnership with Ajinkya Rahane proved to be the difference and Kohli acknowledged that Pujara’s knock made all the difference.
“Pujara and Rahane, temperament wise and mindset, they are proper Test batsmen. Pujara was the difference. Rahane batted fearlessly and that is his template. He has confidence in his own space. We took a different approach in the second innings as we wanted to make Australia stay on the field longer. We learnt a lot from the first innings,” Kohli said.
The Indian skipper was also critical of Australia’s defensive mindset but was full of praise for the fight shown by the tail-enders. “We did not allow them to gain momentum. If you do not play with positive intent, you will nick off at some time. We wanted to create that kind of situation. However, we did not take anything for granted. Their tail is in the top 3 when it comes to lower order averages. We expected them to fight,” Kohli said.
The Indian skipper, though, was focused on the key task which the team wanted to achieve in the next game. “We need to build on this. We can't be happy with just one Test win. We are happy with this win but we must capitalize,” Kohli said.
The second Test of the series will be played at the New Perth stadium on December 14.