How Kohli & boys managed a turnaround

Chennai: A week ago, India was 2-0 down to England. They lost the second Test by an innings and 159 runs. They were written off by the sports-lovers and even by coaches across the country.

However, Team India pulled up its socks and managed to make a remarkable turnaround. They bounced back in the third Test to crush England in their own backyard by 203 runs.

Their star performers were Kohli and Rahane with the bat, Bumrah and Hardik with the ball.

Indians looked a completely different side as they took the field in Nottingham.  Getting his best XI, Kohli was right there in a positive frame of mind. Now the series is wide open and the better team on the day have every chance to seal victory.

Speaking to ‘News Today,’ Augustine, who runs a cricket academy in Madipakkam, says, “The boys had self-belief. The batsmen applied themselves better. They had the determination to stay on the wicket long. With Kohli in sublime form, all they had to do was to hang around with him in the middle. They did it exactly.”

“The minor adjustments that they made helped them a lot. They chose to stand a little outside the crease to negate any chance of swing and they were watchful of the ball swinging outside the off stump. Once they managed to put a good score on board in the first innings, obviously their confidence was back,” he says.

He singled out the partnership between Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane in the first innings as the game changer.

The two applied themselves at the crease much better on the opening day to forge together a 159-run stand.

The post-lunch session on the day was all about the Indian skipper and his deputy showing once again how good they are as a batting pair, especially overseas, as they put the hosts in the driver’s seat with near-flawless knocks.

Kohli has buried his past of 2014. He averaged a poor 13.50 with scores of 1,8,25, 0, 39, 28, 0, 7, 6 and 20 in ten innings then.

Echoing the same, Vashist, a division player in the local league, says, ‘Hardik Pandya deserves a special mention. With bowlers building pressure on one side, Pandya picked up wickets on the other side taking a fifer putting England on the back foot.

And in the second innings, Bumrah with the second new ball swung on both sides exposing the weakness of Englishmen to genuine pace and good length. He scripted the famous English collapse from 234/4 to 241/8’.

“Catching made the difference,” says James, a die-hard cricket fan. “Newcomer Rishabh Pant took some brilliant catches in both the innings and slip cordon was alert and agile. Dhawan and Rahane who dropped catches in previous Tests were removed from slips and Cheteshwar Puraja, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli took their places.”

He further says, “England’s batting line-up looks weak and vulnerable to both pace and spin bowling. They look more problematic than the Indian batting at the moment. They need to apply themselves as conditions favour them.”

M BHARAT KUMAR