Virat Kohli has acknowledged that facing spinners on a rank turner in Chennai was a unique challenge. The Indian skipper also expounded on how he changed his batting style to better counter England’s spinners in the second innings.
The batsman played two contrasting knocks in the second Test. After getting bamboozled and bowled by Moeen Ali's jaffa in the first innings, Virat Kohli came roaring back in the second. He didn’t let the batting failure affect him, and produced a gritty knock of 62 in the second innings, which was an exhibition of batting on turning tracks.
Virat Kohli conceded he enjoyed coming up with something different in the second innings and was proud of the instant changes he could make to his game. The elated captain said:
“It was indeed. I have taken a lot of pride in improving myself very quickly and correcting mistakes. That is probably something I haven’t done in the past. On a few occasions, I’ve been rigid.”
Virat Kohli was out playing an expansive cover drive in the first innings as Moeen Ali spun one that breached through the gate to hit the top of off-stump.
But Virat Kohli altered his batting style in the second essay, a strategy that worked wonders for him. The batsman consciously took his back foot outside the off stump to counter the turn and refrained from playing the cover drive at the start of his innings. Virat Kohli’s insistence on playing the ball close to his body also played to his strengths.
The result was a 96-run partnership with Ravichandran Ashwin, which formed the bedrock of India’s second innings total. Virat Kohli scored a rather slow 149-ball 62, but the way he altered his technique on a challenging track was mighty impressive.
“Now for me, if I make an error, I make sure in the very next innings, I iron it out. I understand I need to be batting out there in the middle as much as possible. That partnership with Ashwin was very very important for us. Almost 100 runs. I think he batted outstandingly well," beamed an elated Virat Kohli.
Virat Kohli attacked just 14% of the deliveries bowled to him in the second innings, which was way down from his usual average of 25%.
His false-shot percentage was also lower than the match average, with Virat Kohli admitted that staying in the middle was much more important than scoring runs at that point in the Test.
“Just decided in the second half that I’m not going to go after the runs too much. Not get too ahead of the game. I’m going to trust my defence that I can bat four sessions on this pitch. No problem at all. I’m going to trust my defence to get out of trouble,” said Virat Kohli.
Virat Kohli admits having fans back was an advantage
Apart from his batting masterclass, Virat Kohli was also at his best while marshaling his troops. The captain regularly motivated his players, as India kept the pressure on the English batsmen.
Virat Kohli also livened up the Chennai crowd on multiple occasions. After the game, he admitted that it was something he did on purpose to help his bowlers.
“Everyone knows the Chennai crowd is intelligent. They understand their cricket really well. For me, sometimes in moments of the game where a 15–20-minute period is important, where the bowler needs that support from the crowd, it is my responsibility as a captain to involve everyone. If I’m running into bowl in this heat, I want people to motivate me which can push people to do special things,” concluded the victorious Indian captain.