India vs Australia 2017

Virat Kohli criticises quality of ball, but credits Australia's batsmen for earning hard-fought draw

The India skipper said the ball went soft far too early, and made it difficult for his bowlers to extract bounce and create wicket-taking opportunities.

India skipper Virat Kohli criticised the balls provided for the third Test, stating that they lost their hardness early and dented his bowlers’ ability to extract bounce and create wicket-taking opportunities in the second half of the fifth day.

India, who were sniffing for a win after sending Australia’s top-order packing by lunch, were left frustrated as Australia’s Peter Handscomb (72) and Shaun Marsh (53) batted out the final two sessions to stretch the contest into the fourth and final Test in Dharamsala.

“I think the hardness of the ball was a big factor,” Kohli said. “When the ball was new last night, it spun well off the rough. Even this morning, it was spinning well. But in the middle session, the ball was not hard, so could not generate that kind of pace from the wicket. On day five, [the] wicket slows down anyway. We took the new ball and got a couple of wickets. But the hardness of the ball in the middle session was a factor.”

Kohli, however, said that Australia deserved the draw. “We don’t want to take any credit away from their batsmen,” he said. “In the second innings, they obviously batted well and earned the draw.”

Australia skipper Steve Smith had come out after the game and said that the momentum was with the visitors, heading into the final Test. Kohli, though, was quick to rule out any such notion, clarifying that India was the team that had any chance of winning.

“From where we were with the score at 320/6 with 451 to chase, to make 600, was a great effort on our part,” Kohli said. “We were happy that we got ourselves into a position where we could play for a win. If you’re playing against the No 2 side, they will obviously show fight. We are happy that we were in a strong position and did not have to bat again. There is one match left and I am sure both teams will put their best effort in to take the series.”

Australia captain Steve Smith didn’t think much of Kohli’s criticism of the balls that were used. “The cricket balls? I haven’t really thought about it,” he said. “I don’t think we can do anything about it. We both use the same SG ball, just got to do what you can with it.”

‘Jadeja proved why he is No 1’

Despite India’s inability to close out the game, Kohli was full of praise for teammate and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja for his “outstanding” performance in conditions which the India captain felt favoured the batsmen more.

“All our bowlers bowled really well, but according to me it was Jadeja who was the standout performer,” Kohli said. “His economy if you consider the wicket, was quite incredible. High-class bowling and [he] proved why he is the No 1 bowler along with R Ashwin.”

Jadeja, who bagged a five-wicket haul in the first innings, picked up four in the second and gave away just 54 runs, having bowled 44 overs in total. Ashwin, by contrast, was given only 30 overs to bowl and did not manage to make much impact coming away from the day with just one wicket.

“We obviously wanted to give jadeja more opportunities to bowl as he was hitting the rough areas consistently. The ball has to turn into the batsman, be it left handed and right,” Kohli explained.

“There was nothing wrong with Ashwin. The fast bowlers were effective from one end, while spinners were effective from the other. Jadeja you can keep aside, he really stood apart in this game. In general bowlers could not find much purchase from the centre of the wicket. The focus was on allowing bowlers to bowl from the right end and not which bowlers should bowl more. Roles always reverse its not a big factor for us.”

‘Cheteshwar Pujara is priceless to have in the team’

Kohli also chose to highlight the work put in Chesteshwar Pujara and Wriddhiman Saha for putting India in a position of strength during the Test.

“KL Rahul (67) and Murali Vijay (82) batted beautifully, but the partnership between Pujara and Saha is the best I have seen,” said Kohli. “We got ourselves into a very good position. Losing the toss here was never easy. Not being able to take the field [due to injury] was never easy for me and then watching the opposition get big runs was difficult. But we batted beautifully.”

Applauding his players’ desire to stand up and be counted, Kohli said, “Guys want to push the barrier, their physical limits, their mental toughness. Credit to Australia for playing out the draw, but we played ourselves into a position where we could have won.”

Pujara had eked out a marathon 525-ball 202 on day three to share a crucial 199-run stand with Wriddhiman Saha (117) for the seventh wicket. The effort had helped India declare on 603/9 after Australia had posted 451 in their first innings.

Kohli said he felt bad that Pujara’s contribution to the team was always overlooked and credited him for putting his hand up and leading India out of tough situation. “He is the most composed player in the team,” said Kohli. “He is someone who is priceless to have in the team. When the pressure situation comes he is always someone who puts his hand up and holds up one end.

“This season he has been incredible for us. I don’t know the number of runs he has scored, but he has contributed throughout. He has not been someone who is noticed enough, but people should take not of his contributions this season. I hope he can continue in the same vein in Dharamsala as well,” Kohli added.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content  BY 

As India turns 70, London School of Economics asks some provocative questions

Is India ready to become a global superpower?

Meaningful changes have always been driven by the right, but inconvenient questions. As India completes 70 years of its sovereign journey, we could do two things – celebrate, pay our token tributes and move on, or take the time to reflect and assess if our course needs correction. The ‘India @ 70: LSE India Summit’, the annual flagship summit of the LSE (London School of Economics) South Asia Centre, is posing some fundamental but complex questions that define our future direction as a nation. Through an honest debate – built on new research, applied knowledge and ground realities – with an eclectic mix of thought leaders and industry stalwarts, this summit hopes to create a thought-provoking discourse.

From how relevant (or irrelevant) is our constitutional framework, to how we can beat the global one-upmanship games, from how sincere are business houses in their social responsibility endeavours to why water is so crucial to our very existence as a strong nation, these are some crucial questions that the event will throw up and face head-on, even as it commemorates the 70th anniversary of India’s independence.

Is it time to re-look at constitution and citizenship in India?

The Constitution of India is fundamental to the country’s identity as a democratic power. But notwithstanding its historical authority, is it perhaps time to examine its relevance? The Constitution was drafted at a time when independent India was still a young entity. So granting overwhelming powers to the government may have helped during the early years. But in the current times, they may prove to be more discriminatory than egalitarian. Our constitution borrowed laws from other countries and continues to retain them, while the origin countries have updated them since then. So, do we need a complete overhaul of the constitution? An expert panel led by Dr Mukulika Banerjee of LSE, including political and economic commentator S Gurumurthy, Madhav Khosla of Columbia University, Niraja Gopal Jayal of JNU, Chintan Chandrachud the author of the book Balanced Constitutionalism and sociologist, legal researcher and Director of Council for Social Development Kalpana Kannabiran will seek answers to this.

Is CSR simply forced philanthropy?

While India pioneered the mandatory minimum CSR spend, has it succeeded in driving impact? Corporate social responsibility has many dynamics at play. Are CSR initiatives mere tokenism for compliance? Despite government guidelines and directives, are CSR activities well-thought out initiatives, which are monitored and measured for impact? The CSR stipulations have also spawned the proliferation of ambiguous NGOs. The session, ‘Does forced philanthropy work – CSR in India?” will raise these questions of intent, ethics and integrity. It will be moderated by Professor Harry Barkema and have industry veterans such as Mukund Rajan (Chairman, Tata Council for Community Initiatives), Onkar S Kanwar (Chairman and CEO, Apollo Tyres), Anu Aga (former Chairman, Thermax) and Rahul Bajaj (Chairman, Bajaj Group) on the panel.

Can India punch above its weight to be considered on par with other super-powers?

At 70, can India mobilize its strengths and galvanize into the role of a serious power player on the global stage? The question is related to the whole new perception of India as a dominant power in South Asia rather than as a Third World country, enabled by our foreign policies, defense strategies and a buoyant economy. The country’s status abroad is key in its emergence as a heavyweight but the foreign service officers’ cadre no longer draws top talent. Is India equipped right for its aspirations? The ‘India Abroad: From Third World to Regional Power’ panel will explore India’s foreign policy with Ashley Tellis, Meera Shankar (Former Foreign Secretary), Kanwal Sibal (Former Foreign Secretary), Jayant Prasad and Rakesh Sood.

Are we under-estimating how critical water is in India’s race ahead?

At no other time has water as a natural resource assumed such a big significance. Studies estimate that by 2025 the country will become ‘water–stressed’. While water has been the bone of contention between states and controlling access to water, a source for political power, has water security received the due attention in economic policies and development plans? Relevant to the central issue of water security is also the issue of ‘virtual water’. Virtual water corresponds to the water content (used) in goods and services, bulk of which is in food grains. Through food grain exports, India is a large virtual net exporter of water. In 2014-15, just through export of rice, India exported 10 trillion litres of virtual water. With India’s water security looking grim, are we making the right economic choices? Acclaimed author and academic from the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi, Amita Bavisar will moderate the session ‘Does India need virtual water?’

Delve into this rich confluence of ideas and more at the ‘India @ 70: LSE India Summit’, presented by Apollo Tyres in association with the British Council and organized by Teamworks Arts during March 29-31, 2017 at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. To catch ‘India @ 70’ live online, register here.

At the venue, you could also visit the Partition Museum. Dedicated to the memory of one of the most conflict-ridden chapters in our country’s history, the museum will exhibit a unique archive of rare photographs, letters, press reports and audio recordings from The Partition Museum, Amritsar.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Teamwork Arts and not by the Scroll editorial team.