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Virat Kohli absent from field on Day 4 with suspected back-strain

ANALYST
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751   //    12 Aug 2018, 16:30 IST

England v India: Specsavers 2nd Test - Day Three
Not sure if he is in the mood to smile right now

Just a reminder: India scored 107 in total the first innings. Chris Woakes alone scored 137 runs in reply, as England stretched their lead to 289 runs before declaring with three wickets left to fall.

The match is effectively out of India's grasp, and the players are just out there, fighting for survival right now. And the latest news coming out of the Indian camp spreads more anxiety among them, as Virat Kohli has not taken to the field due to a suspected back strain. In the absence of the captain, who is also the man with the biggest fighting instincts amongst his teammates, the visitors are potentially facing a huge uphill task.

Kohli has been suffering from a back issue since the South African tour in March, because of which he missed the 2nd and 3rd T20Is in that series. After recovering and playing throughout the IPL, only to suffer from a neck-sprain in the final game, he had to be administered immediate treatment. This meant that he missed his county stint with Surrey and the limited-over series with Ireland. He made a comeback to the squad at the start of the England tour, and all seemed well until yesterday when he suddenly went out to seek some medical aid for his back, while Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes were tormenting Indian bowlers in the late hours of play.

Though he returned to play in the 71st over of yesterday's play with a smile on his face to indicate he was fine, he has absent from the field altogether this morning, which spells bigger problems for his side. It is still left to see as to what is the cause of his recurring back-problems.

Kohli's absence has been noticed prominently, and we have been seeing some activity about the issue on Twitter:

Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane is in charge due to Kohli's absence. Hopefully he will recover in time for his turn to bat in India's second innings, although he will not be able to bat for the first 37 minutes of the Indian innings, as that is how much time he was off the field this morning.

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