Ashwin ‘good to go’ following a groin strain
SOUTHAMPTON, United Kingdom, Aug 29, (AFP): Virat Kohli believes India are better placed to avoid the mistakes of four years ago as they look to build on their third Test win over England when the series continues in Southampton on Thursday.
India have arrived at Hampshire’s headquarters on the back of a thumping 203-run victory at Trent Bridge – a match in which captain Kohli scored exactly 200 runs, including a century, for the second time this series after performing a similar feat in the first Test at Edgbaston.
Last week’s success in Nottingham saw India cut England’s lead in the five-match campaign to 2-1.
In 2014, India came to Hampshire having beaten England by 95 runs to be 1-0 up after three Tests in a five-match series with one draw. But from then on it was one-way traffic, with England thrashing India by 266 runs to start a run of three straight wins that led to a 3-1 series success.
“Last time around I can’t really pinpoint as to what we did wrong or maybe England played much better than us,” Kohli told reporters at Southampton on Wednesday.
“We probably didn’t have the experience to capitalize on the lead is how I see things four years down the line,” added the world’s top-ranked Test batsman.
“Right now, we understand that we are in a very exciting position to have gained momentum at the right time in the series and to have played like that when two-nil down, when everyone thought it is going to be a clean sweep (for England) or we are going to be rolled over.”
Instead, victory in Nottingham has given India an opportunity to become just the second side in Test history to win a five-match series from 2-0 down – with a Don Bradman-inspired Australia, against England in 1936/37, the only team to have achieved that feat.
“It was just about capitalizing on the big moments during the Test match,” said Kohli of his side’s success at Trent Bridge.
“As cricketers we understand when a Test match goes away from you and we spoke about recognizing that and making sure that we are relentless and ruthless in terms of capitalizing on those important moments which we did in Nottingham,” he added.
Kohli, however, said India could not afford to be complacent if the world’s number-one ranked Test side were to achieve their overriding goal of a series win.
“If Nottingham was hard work this is going to be even harder,” he insisted.
“England will want to come back strongly. We understand that and we will have to be even better (than at Trent Bridge).”
And with Kohli declaring off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin “good to go” following a groin strain at Trent Bridge, this Test could be the one where India field the same team twice in a row for the first time in 46 matches at this level.
“It has not always been the case of changes,” said Kohli. “There have been injuries as well.
“Seeing the way things are right now, we don’t feel we need to change anything.”