Just competing not enough, need to learn art of crossing the line: Kohli
India's captain Virat Kohli celebrates after scoring a double century during the second day of their third test cricket match against Sri Lanka in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
Southampton: India skipper Virat Kohli said his team cannot be satisfied with just competing overseas and it has to learn the art of crossing the line in a pressure situation. India suffered a 60-run loss in the fourth Test on Sunday after being dismissed for 184 while chasing a victory target of 245 set by England.
It cost India the series 3-1 and Kohli said that they need to understand the situation whilst at the crease and not after the game. “We can look at the scoreboard and say we were only 30 or 50 runs away, but we have to recognise that when we are in the midst of the situation, and not later. We know that we have played good cricket but we cannot say again and again to ourselves that we have competed,” Kohli said.
“When you come so close, there is an art of crossing the line as well, which we will have to learn. We have the ability, which is why we are getting close to a result. But when a pressure situation comes, how we react to it, is something we have to work on a bit.”
Like in South Africa, India started off the series lagging 0-2 but fought hard to reduce the deficit by clinching the third Test.
Kohli said his team needs to be more relentless and fearless to make better start to the overseas tours. “Look we’ve spoken about the fact that even during the match when we’re in a driving position, we should be able to capitalise on it and not let the opposition come in, and fight back again and again. We can take a leaf out of that,” he said.
“Nottingham we did that, for three days we were relentless and we’re on top. So we need to think about how to start a series like that as well. As a group we need to be more relentless when we start a series and be a bit more expressive and fearless at the beginning of a series.
“Especially in a long series because, as I’ve said at the start of the series, you have time to comeback, but you want to come back when you’ve played fearless cricket and you don’t want to be catching up too much.”
When asked about the batsmen’s failure in this game, and the series, as a whole, the skipper said, “It’s very difficult to recognize key moments in the first innings of a Test match. But after I got out, I myself felt that had I batted for longer that day the lead could have been bigger.”
“But even after that we thought we could get a couple of more partnerships and extend the lead if possible. Eventually Pujara had to play a blinder to get us to a lead of 30 odd. So that’s the only thing that I feel could have extended our lead a bit more in this first innings.
“Apart from that as I said as captain I don’t see many areas we need to think of as negatives because we tried our best.”
Kohli said his team never gave up and made England earn the victory. “Not many teams come close to us when we play at home. But to make the home sides earn victory against us, that’s a huge boost for us. As a group we feel that we have pushed the home side to earn victories and we haven’t thrown in the towel,” he said.
England’s Moeen Ali took nine wickets for 134 runs as India succumbed twice to his off-spin.
While Kohli praised the off-spinner, he also defended R Ashwin, who couldn’t work similar magic in this game.
“Ashwin tried his best. He pitched the ball in the right areas. He didn’t get the results he would have intended. We all try to do well. Some innings it doesn’t come off,” he said.
“On flat wickets batsmen can get out. So this was one occasion where Ashwin could himself feel he could have got more purchase out of the wicket. The batsmen played well. There could be a lot of factors when you look at that situation.
“But Moeen bowled really well. If you have to single out his performance, I think he was relentless with the areas that he bowled in and the speeds that he bowled at, so deserved to get the wickets he got eventually,” he added.