"It looked like an unplayable ball" - Sunil Gavaskar feels Virat Kohli could have negotiated Mitchell Starc better off the backfoot

Australia v India - ICC World Test Championship Final 2023: Day Two
Kohli was dismissed by Starc for the fourth time in Tests

Former India batter Sunil Gavaskar has dissected Virat Kohli's dismissal off Mitchell Starc's bowling on Day 2 of the World Test Championship (WTC) final at The Oval. The ace batter was dismissed for 14 runs off 31 balls as India finished the day on 151-5, trailing Australia by 318 runs.

Kohli was caught all ends up by a Starc delivery that rose from a length. The batter could not handle the extra bounce, leading to the ball hitting the gloves and finding Steve Smith at second slip, thereby ending his stay in the middle.

At first glance, the majority labeled the delivery as unplayable. However, Gavaskar feels that Kohli could have tackled the delivery had he played it off the back foot.

"You could have a look again, today because of the fact that there are only two bouncers per over, most batters are onto the front foot. This means they are not able to get onto the backfoot and give themselves the extra yard where you could have probably let the ball go by dropping your wrists," the legendary cricketer said on air.
"Yes, it was a tough delivery because he was so committed to the front foot that he was not able to withdraw his bat at the last moment. If he had been on the backfoot. It looked like an unplayable ball, but if he had been on the backfoot, he would have been able to drop his wrists," Gavaskar continued.

Each of the Australian bowlers picked up a wicket after wrapping up their batting stint by the second session on Day 2. The Aussie seamers rattled the Indian top order while off-spinner Nathan Lyon struck late in the day to dismiss top-scorer Ravindra Jadeja (48) to leave India reeling.

"One of the essentials of batting in England is to play the ball as late as possible" - Sunil Gavaskar decodes Team India's top-order debacle

The Men in Blue were off to a relatively good and positive start with Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill putting on 30 runs in six overs. However, the Indian batters had a hard time with the ball coming back in off the surface after that.

Pat Cummins trapped the Indian skipper plumb while Gill and Cheteshwar Pujara's miscalculated leaves sealed their exits.

Lending his opinion over the dismissals caused due to not leaving the ball properly, Gavaskar said:

"One of the essentials of batting in England is to play the ball as late as possible. So, it means, if you are looking to play the ball as late as possible, your bat is nearer to the ball, not up in the air."

Gavaskar continued:

"Because it was up in the air, they allowed the ball to go through. With the bat up in the air, they were not able to bring it down when the ball nipped in."

Ajinkya Rahane and KS Bharat currently occupy the crease unbeaten on 29 and 5, respectively. Team India have scored 151 runs so far in 38 overs and are still a long way behind Australia's 469-run first-innings score.

Will Team India be able to come back from this point in the WTC final? Let us know what you think.

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Edited by Samya Majumdar
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