London, Sep 6 (IANS) India skipper Virat Kohli termed Monday’s performance that saw India register a sensational 157-run win in the fourth Test as one of the three best bowling performances he has witnessed. He added the dry and hot conditions helped his bowlers get reverse swing which turned the game in their favour.
“I am really proud of the character that the team has shown, especially this morning. Definitely among the top three bowling performances that I have witnessed as Indian captain,” said Kohli during the presentation ceremony after the game that saw India grab 2-1 series lead with one Test to go.
Kohli said that the ‘flat pitch’ was actually a blessing in disguise for his team.
“It is quite relative what you call flat. Because [over] the last two days, the conditions have been really hot, so the field wasn’t that wet like the first three days and we knew we were in with an opportunity with Jadeja bowling from one end and into the rough. The ball got scuffed up quite nicely and then we managed to make one side heavier and our guys when the ball is reversing enough, they become much more lethal,” added Kohli.
He said that instead of complaining about the flat pitch, they took it as an opportunity and insisted that the team wanted to continue bowling with the old ball.
“We exploited reverse swing perfectly today and we were actually looking at the opportunity of bowling with the old ball and looked at it as a positive rather than saying ‘look, nothing is happening from the pitch and what are we going to do here?’ Rather than that, we believed as a team that we could get all 10 wickets today and that is why it happened. Because the boys had belief.”
Marking Jasprit Bumrah for special praise, Kohli, who is already India’s most successful and world’s fourth most successful Test captain, said the Gujarat pace bowler volunteered to bowl when he saw the ball had gotten old.
“Absolutely unbelievable spell. If you give 27 runs off 22 overs on this kind of a pitch, I think that is a huge effort in the last innings of a Test match. You know as soon as the ball started reversing (reverse swinging) a bit, Jasprit said: ‘give me that ball’ and he bowled that six-over spell that you mentioned and got us two breakthroughs that completely shifted the momentum to our side and from thereon, we knew any more mistakes from England and we will be all over this game.”
The Indian coaching staff — head coach Ravi Shastri, bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar — were not on the ground over the last two days and were isolated after having tested positive. However, they congratulated the team, said Kohli.
“It is unfortunate they are not here. But they called the team just now. Everyone is quite happy,” he informed and said that the team has the wherewithal to register win in the fifth and final Test and seal a series win.
“We have got one Test to play. It (this win) is absolutely a great momentum booster. We have been here for a long time. This gives us 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. Even though we rested a couple of our bowlers, we still stood up.”