Virat Kohli: Among the top three bowling performances I’ve seen as captain

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India won the fourth Test by 157 runs at The Oval, taking a 2-1 series lead with one match to go. After the match, India captain Virat Kohli spoke to Michael Atherton, and said

On this, and the second Test win at Lord’s, both being among India’s best-ever wins
The best thing about the both wins is the character that the side has shown. If you look at how the game panned: you mentioned the 100-run lead that England had in the first innings [England had a 99-run lead at The Oval] – to come back from there and the way we batted in the second innings showed that we are not down and out. And we are not looking to surivive in this game. If there’s an opportunity to put the opposition under pressure, we’ll go for it. And we put up a total on the board which was always going to be difficult to chase, especially heading latter half of Day 4 and 5.

As I said at Lord’s as well, I’m really proud of the character the team has shown, specially this morning the way the team has bowled. It is definitely among top three bowling performances that I have witnessed as Indian captain.

On being confident about getting 10 wickets on a seemingly flat pitch
It’s quite relative what you call flat. The last two days, conditions were really hot so the field wasn’t that wet like the first three days. And we knew we were in with an opportunity with [Ravindra] Jadeja bowling from one end into the rough – the ball got scuffed up quite nicely and we managed to make one side heavier. And our guys, when the ball is reversing enough, they become much more lethal, and we exploited reverse swing perfectly today.

We were actually looking forward to bowling with the old ball. And we looked at that as a positive rather than thinking: ‘Nothing’s happening from the pitch, what are we going to do here?’ Rather than that, we believed as a team, yes, we could get all 10 wickets today.That’s exactly why it happened today, because the boys had belief.

On Bumrah’s six-over spell post lunch
Absolutely unbelievable spell. If you give 27 runs off 22 overs on this kind of pitch, that’s a huge effort in the last innings of the Test match. As you said the pitch hadn’t offered enough, but as soon as the ball started reversing a bit, Jasprit just said: “Just give me the ball.” And he bowled that six-over spell and got us two breakthroughs which completely shifted the momentum to our side. From there on, we knew anymore mistakes from England and we will be all over this game.

On Shardul Thakur’s influence
Rohit’s innings was outstanding – playing against a 100-run lead as an opener and the conditions were overcast, and his knock was the difference in the second innings. But the impact performance we were looking from a lower middle-order point of view, what Shardul has done in this game has to be remembered for a long time. Even in first innings he stood up: his 50 was the actually the difference between a 150-160 lead and a 100-run lead. And his 60 in the second innings as well, a counter-attacking one, I felt like it deflated the opposition. When I got out in the morning (on Day 4), they were looking at a few more breakthroughs and probably to try to restrict us to a reasonable total, but the way he batted again in the second innings was outstanding.

On Shastri, Arun, Sridhar absent
It is unfortunate they are not here, but they did call the team just now – everyone is really happy with the win. Also we get ahead in the series with one Test match to play. It’s absolutely a great momentum booster because we’ve been here for a long time and now this gives us even more motivation to go out there and try and win the next one as well. We have everything that we need to win: we have the belief, we have the team. Eventhough we rested couple of our bowlers we still stood up and guys did the job with ball and bat in hand and in the field as well.



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