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Competing Not Enough, Need to Learn Art of Crossing the Line: Kohli

Cricketnext Staff | September 3, 2018, 3:51 PM IST

Southampton: India skipper Virat Kohli said his team cannot be satisfied with just competing overseas and it has to learn the art of crossing the line in pressure situation. India suffered a 60-run loss in the fourth Test on Sunday after being dismissed for 184 while chasing a victory target of 245 set by England.

It cost India the series 3-1 and Kohli said that they need to understand situation whilst at the crease and not after the game.

"We can look at the scoreboard and say we were only 30 or 50 runs away, but we have to recognise that when we are in the midst of the situation, and not later. We know that we have played good cricket but we cannot say again and again to ourselves that we have competed," Kohli said.

"When you come so close, there is an art of crossing the line as well, which we will have to learn. We have the ability, which is why we are getting close to a result. But when a pressure situation comes, how we react to it, is something we have to work on a bit."

Like in South Africa, India started off the series lagging 0-2 but fought hard to reduce the deficit by clinching the third Test. Kohli said his team needs to be more relentless and fearless to make better start to the overseas tours.

"Look we've spoken about the fact that even during the match when we're in a driving position, we should be able to capitalise on it and not let the opposition come in, and fight back again and again. We can take a leaf out of that," he said.

"Nottingham we did that, for three days we were relentless and we're on top. So we need to think about how to start a series like that as well. As a group we need to be more relentless when we start a series and be a bit more expressive and fearless at the beginning of a series.

"Especially in a long series because, as I've said at the start of the series, you have time to comeback, but you want to come back when you've played fearless cricket and you don't want to be catching up too much."

When asked about the batsmen's failure in this game, and the series, as a whole, the skipper said, "It's very difficult to recognize key moments in the first innings of a Test match. But after I got out, I myself felt that had I batted for longer that day the lead could have been bigger.

"But even after that we thought we could get a couple of more partnerships and extend the lead if possible. Eventually Pujara had to play a blinder to get us to a lead of 30 odd. So that's the only thing that I feel could have extended our lead a bit more in this first innings.

"Apart from that as I said as captain I don't see many areas we need to think of as negatives because we tried our best."

Kohli said his team never gave up and made England earn the victory.

"Not many teams come close to us when we play at home. But to make the home sides earn victory against us, that's a huge boost for us. As a group we feel that we have pushed the home side to earn victories and we haven't thrown in the towel," he said.

England's Moeen Ali took nine wickets for 134 runs as India succumbed twice to his off-spin. While Kohli praised the off-spinner, he also defended R Ashwin, who couldn't work similar magic in this game.

"Ashwin tried his best. He pitched the ball in the right areas. He didn't get the results he would have intended. We all try to do well. Some innings it doesn't come off," he said.

"On flat wickets batsmen can get out. So this was one occasion where Ashwin could himself feel he could have got more purchase out of the wicket. The batsmen played well. There could be a lot of factors when you look at that situation.

"But Moeen bowled really well. If you have to single out his performance, I think he was relentless with the areas that he bowled in and the speeds that he bowled at, so deserved to get the wickets he got eventually," he added.

Root Calls Series a Good Advertisement for Test Cricket

"I think it's a really good sign for Test cricket. It shows that for me Test cricket is still alive and kicking - very much at the pinnacle of the sport," Root said.

"Credit to India - they've played some really fine cricket throughout, not just this game but the whole series. It must have been great viewing for people at home to see the way that especially the first game and this one, how tight they've been, how it swung both ways."

Root said he was confident of a win with so many bowling options at his disposal as England's potent attack dismissed world No 1 India for 273 and 184 in the two innings to secure the win.

"I felt like I had huge amounts of options and having points of difference in attack. In this game, having the ball spinning both ways, having a left-arm angle and three fantastic seam bowlers that all do very different things," he said.

The England skipper said his side was confident about the 245-run target.

"When I was batting on it, I thought 190 would have been a good score. But the fact we managed to get up and beyond 230-240 was a fantastic effort, and proved to be a really difficult chase," Root said.

"I know there was a lot talked about that 275 being what looked to be a difficult chase, but I was fairly confident that if we bowled to our potential like we did today, then we'd have enough in the bank to get across the line."

Heaping praise on his batsmen, Root said it was a challenge to stay calm in the trying conditions here.

"I'm really pleased how it's all turned out. We always knew there was going to be a partnership at some stage. The biggest challenge for us was if we could stay calm and collected and trust that if we stuck to what we wanted to do for long periods of time the wicket would do the rest for us," he said.

"I thought as a whole group we performed exceptionally well, and managed to do that. That's testament to the skill levels and the attitude of the team. It's really pleasing that, under that sore of pressure, we've managed to come good."

Root also accepted that conditions have been tough for batsmen throughout the series.

"It's been the same for both sides, hasn't it, very difficult for both top orders? It's just the way the wickets have been. There's been some fine bowling on both teams - the two seam attacks are very high-class. Of course, you're always looking to get better and at areas you want to improve," he said.

"We want to make sure we're starting well with the bat, and that's going to continue to be a big focus for us as a team. But you've also got to be realistic about the conditions we've been playing in."

Moeen Ali haunted the Indian batsmen again, like he did here in 2014, and returned a match-winning haul of nine wickets for 134 runs.

He took 4-71 in the second innings as India lost their last seven wickets for 61 runs and Root was effusive in his praise for the off-spinner.

"He's been brilliant. Sometimes, having a bit of time away from the game can be a really good thing, and he's obviously performed exceptionally well for Worcestershire," he said.

"He's in the form of his life with the bat, and obviously ball as well, and he's taken that straight into Test cricket. I couldn't be more pleased for him. He's someone that's a big part of the dressing-room, and it's always really nice when he goes out there and performs. He's such a big star of this team, and I think that's going to be the case moving forward," he said.

(With PTI Inputs)

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