Adelaide has been unkind to Virat Kohli this time. A venue that has helped the current India captain at different stages of his career became the venue for India’s most spectacular collapse. Kohli looked shell shocked after it was over.
“It’s a strange one to be honest. The ball didn’t do much. I think we did not have enough intent to go out there with the plan of taking the game forward. Everything hit the edge. Just happened so quickly, that no one could make any sense of it. It was quite disappointing because the position we were in, from there to have an hour and half like that was very surprising,” said Kohli after the eight-wicket loss on Saturday that put Australia 1-0 ahead in the four-Test series.
India’s downfall was sudden after two intense days of day-night cricket during which Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane had dug deep in the first innings before R Ashwin and the pacers gave them a 53-run lead.
“You can make all the team plans you want, (but) it is more important what the mindset of the individuals taking the field is. Whether you want to take the game forward or you want to play absolutely solid. That you are very sound defensively and are feeling comfortable. Historically, I can tell you whenever I have batted well in these situations, my plan has been to go and get quick 30-40 runs and take the game forward,” said Kohli.
“When we lack in intent, the opposition can sense it and put you under extreme pressure. That is exactly what happened.”
Kohli also pointed to the pile-up of errors before the batting implosion. “I think it was seven down for 110 (111/ 7), if I am not wrong, when Tim Paine offered a chance and then he got 70-odd from there on. Then, Marnus Labuschagne. A couple of chances off him as well. In Test cricket, you have to take your chances when they come your way. They can be very, very costly, something that we realised in a very harsh way today,” he said.
“(It) definitely would have been a boost for us if we had a lead of a few runs more. Then, we are already over 100 and with a decent start, the opposition starts panicking.”
Complementing Paine’s 73 was a spell of sustained hostility from Australia pacers Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc. Five batsmen were caught behind while Kohli edged to gully while driving.
“They bowled similar lengths in the first innings as well. We were just better in terms of handling it, having a plan around it. A bit of lead can always be tricky because as a batting unit you can go into a headspace where you feel like we are just 50 or 60 ahead and you don’t want to lose early wickets. That allows the opposition to come into the game. I think the way we batted allowed them to look more potent than they were in the morning to be very honest,” said Kohli.
“We have played enough cricket to understand what needs to be done at different stages of a Test match, and it is just the lack of executing a plan that is apt for the situation. Drive home the advantage with a lead of 62 with nine wickets in hand. (We) should have definitely put in a stronger batting performance.”
The next Test starts on December 26. “We can only go upwards from here. We definitely don’t feel we are vulnerable to collapses on a regular basis. I don’t want to make it a mountain out of a molehill,” he said.
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