Udayavni Special

Body language and intensity was not up to mark, no excuses: Kohli


PTI, Feb 9, 2021, 3:11 PM IST

Chennai: The body language and intensity were not up to the mark, said a disappointed India skipper Virat Kohli, counting the many errors his team committed in the massive 227-run loss to a ”more professional and consistent” England in the opening Test here.

Chasing a daunting 420-run target, India folded for 192 with only Kohli (72) and Shubman Gill (50) managing to resist the England attack on a deteriorating pitch.

”Our body language and intensity was not up to the mark, second innings we were much better. We were better in the second half of the first innings with the bat,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation.

”We have to understand the things that we have done decently in this game and the things that we haven’t and as a side we are always looking to improve. England were far more professional and consistent throughout the Test match than we were,” the captain added.

Kohli also felt that India did not put enough pressure on England and leaked way too many runs.

”Collectively as a bowling unit, fast bowlers and Ash (Ravichandran Ashwin), were good in the first innings but we also needed to contain a few more runs and create pressure.

”Having said that, it was a slow wicket and not helping the bowlers which made it easy for the batsmen to rotate strike and get into the game.” Asked if the fourth and fifth bowlers — Shahbaz Nadeem and Washington Sundar — were not up to the mark, Kohli did not hide his disappointment.

”That’s a fair assessment. You need your bowling unit to step up and create pressure on the opposition.

”We didn’t achieve that in this game which is fine, lack of execution is acceptable but to understand our mindset was right is very important for us.” Washington gave away 98 runs in the first innings without taking a wicket and bowled only one over in the second. Nadeem conceded 167 runs for two wickets in the first essay while returned figures of 2 for 66 in the second innings.

”We did well in the second innings with the ball and put pressure on them. We are always learning as a side and evolving as a side,” said the captain.

Kohli said England were ready for the grind and ”probably better equipped than us.” ”(Toss) ended up being crucial, I didn’t think it would. We don’t want to take anything away from England with the way they played. No excuses. We are a side that accepts our failures and faults and learns from them.

”One thing is for sure that in the next three matches we are going to give a tough fight and not let things slip away like it did in this Test.” England skipper Joe Root was adjudged the player of the match. He has now won six Test matches in Asia, behind only South Africa’s Graeme Smith (8 wins from 21 Tests) and West Indies’ Clive Llyod (7 from 17).

”To take 20 wickets in alien conditions is a brilliant job from the bowlers. We knew from the outset it was going to be a good wicket. The first partnership got us going. Different stages guys came in and contributed,” said Root.

Root is expecting that ”India are going to come back hard at us”.

Asked about their second innings declaration that never came, Root said the idea was to get to 400 and put India’s win out of equation.

”It didn’t quite materialise like that. But having spent some time out there, I knew the wicket had changed drastically and knew it was going to change again. Wanted to take India’s win out of the equation.

”As a bowling group we didn’t want to worry about the run rate.” Veteran pacer James Anderson tilted the game in England’s favour with his exceptional spell, snaring three wickets, and Root acknowledged the effort.

”Standing here, having won the first game is very pleasing. The way he (Anderson) goes about things, challenging himself constantly and getting better all the time even at 38.

”He’s a great role model to the rest of the group. His skill level is right up there with anyone we’ve ever seen,” he said.

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