Michael Vaughan has showered rich praise on Virat Kohli for his tactically astute leadership that marshaled India to a famous win at The Oval on Monday. Vaughan said Kohli was "top-class" with well-balanced field settings and rotation of bowlers, elaborating that the Indian skipper didn't put a foot wrong throughout the day.
At the start of Day 5 at The Oval, India were required to save 291 runs on a flat wicket, prompting Virat Kohli to be more strategic, decisive and patient in his every step than usual. The captain did just that and went out of his comfort zone to progressively build the pressure on England until their batting order crumbled.
"I have to say, the captaincy today of Virat Kohli was [top-class]. Just staying in early, starting with the seamers, didn't overattack, put a couple of boundary riders, knew exactly when to turn to Jadeja, knew exactly when to turn to Shardul Thakur, those three short mid-wicket [fielders] were always a threat when the ball was tailing in... It always helps when you got someone like Jasprit Bumrah to bowl a spell that was right around the best I have seen on that kind of wicket. But Virat had a fantastic day tactically, just always ahead of the game," Michael Vaughan remarked in an interaction with Cricbuzz.
Michael Vaughan also observed how Virat Kohli worked with Jasprit Bumrah on the field to preserve his strike bowler until the ball was ready for reverse swing. Bumrah reposed his captain's faith by picking up two quick wickets in the second session, turning the game completely in India's favor.
"You can see India were working towards the reverse swing all morning. You could see them as a team, it was a collective unit really looking after that ball. I saw a conversation that Virat had with Jasprit Bumrah just before Lunch. Jasprit was going to come on to bowl and Virat went 'No, no, just give it a little bit more [time] because it's going to (gestures swing), it's coming...'. The tactical side with which Virat operated today, I mean, he's a great leader, he's got this great presence about him. People have questioned his tactics and the way he goes about it on the field, but tactically he didn't put a foot wrong today," Michael Vaughan added.
England were shot down for 210 runs in their second innings, handing India a brilliant 157-run victory. With this, the visitors also took a 2-1 lead in the series.
"Virat Kohli's India gave England a lesson on how to bowl on a flat wicket" - Michael Vaughan
Michael Vaughan further said that although he didn't enjoy the result of the game, it was relishing to watch India "teach a lesson" to the home side on how to bowl on flat wickets.
"It's been a wonderful Test match, whoever you support, it's been five days of intriguing cricket... I have not enjoyed the result but I enjoyed think India gave England a lesson on how to bowl when the pitch is quite flat. When the pitch doesn't offer you a great deal, you got to think out of the box, bowl a bit quicker, create angles, really polish the ball to get the reverse swing. It was a fantastic day for India," Michael Vaughan concluded.
Apart from his strategic nous, Virat Kohli also chipped in 94 runs in India's win at The Oval. He will look to get that elusive three-figure score at Old Trafford and contribute to an outright series win when the final Test starts on September 10.