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Kohli: Gritty batting made the difference


India bowled England out for 164 in their second innings, with Axar Patel taking 5-60 and Ravi Ashwin 3-53 to secure a 317-run victory and level the series 1-1; the third Test begins in Ahmedabad on February 24

Last Updated: 16/02/21 9:32am

Virat Kohli ended his losing streak as India captain in emphatic style as his side crushed England by 317 runs in Chennai (Pic credit – BCCI)

Victorious India captain Virat Kohli felt his side’s “grit and determination” with the bat was decisive after they overwhelmed England by 317 runs to win the second Test in Chennai.

India’s batsmen mastered the crumbling pitch well enough on the third day to score 286 in their second innings and build an unassailable lead before bowling the tourists out for just 164 as they levelled the four-match series 1-1.

While Moeen Ali’s late flourish for 43 off 18 balls represented England’s highest score in the match, India were indebted to centuries in each innings from Rohit Sharma and Ravi Ashwin respectively, as well as three other players passing 50.

“Our application with the bat was outstanding in this game,” said Kohli. “The conditions were challenging for both sides but we showed more application, grit and determination to battle it out.

Virat Kohli, who scored 62 in India's second innings, was one of five home batsmen to pass 50 during the second Test

Virat Kohli, who scored 62 in India’s second innings, was one of five home batsmen to pass 50 during the second Test

“We didn’t panic out there, looking at the amount of turn and bounce – we trusted our defence and we scored 600 runs total. If we put up that kind of performance, then we know our bowlers are going to do the job in home conditions.

“We believed we could get runs on that pitch and it wasn’t unfair if the toss went either way. I don’t think on that pitch it would have mattered very much.

“If you look at our second innings on day three, we still applied ourselves and got almost 300. Both teams had to apply themselves and that’s what you want in Test cricket from the first session onwards.”

Ashwin, who finished with overall figures of 8-96, was named player of the match but it was fellow spinner Axar Patel who grabbed the limelight in England’s second innings as he took 5-60 on his Test debut.

Rishabh Pant stumped Dan Lawrence to reduce England to 66-4 on the final morning in Chennai (Pic credit - BCCI)

Rishabh Pant stumped Dan Lawrence to reduce England to 66-4 on the final morning in Chennai (Pic credit – BCCI)

Wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant, who had struck an unbeaten 58 in India’s first innings, also impressed with the gloves as he pulled off stumpings to dismiss Dan Lawrence and Moeen on the final day.

“He’s worked a lot physically in (the tour of) Australia,” said Kohli. “He’s shed a lot of weight and become quicker on his feet and that’s showing. The way he kept on this pitch, with so much turn and bounce, was a credit to him for working so hard.

“With a super-skilled batsman like him, you won’t really see the difference in batting, but when he moves with the gloves you can see the difference in his reactions and reflexes.

“We want him to keep improving as a keeper and get stronger and stronger with his skill sets because we understand how much value he brings to the team.”

The India skipper indicated that left-armer Axar would retain his place for the remaining two Tests in the series, which both take place at Ahmedabad.

Left-arm spinner Axar Patel marked his Test debut with figures of 5-60 in the second innings (Pic credit - BCCI)

Left-arm spinner Axar Patel marked his Test debut with figures of 5-60 in the second innings (Pic credit – BCCI)

The first of those is a day-night encounter, beginning a week on Wednesday, when paceman Jasprit Bumrah is expected to return to the India line-up after being rested for the second Chennai Test.

“It’s a special moment for Axar and I’m very happy for him,” added Kohli. “He would have played the first game as well if he didn’t have that niggle and he was very keen to step onto the field.

“As a left-arm spinner, when you get the kind of pitch that’s turning square, he was all smiles and he couldn’t wait to get the ball in his hand.

“I hope he builds it up from here and has a strong couple of games going forward, so that he’s always in the mix to play cricket for India.”





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