Each spin, tempo can be elements, says Virat Kohli

Ahmedabad, February 23

A rank turner is being anticipated here for the third Test, but India captain Virat Kohli expects pacers to have as big a role as spinners in the match. Asked if the ball is unlikely to swing much in the third Test, Kohli said he expects the pacers to be in the game till the ball is “nice and shiny”.

“I don’t think that is an accurate assessment (that ball will not swing). The pink ball does tend to swing a lot more than the red ball. We experienced that when we played for the first time in 2019 (against Bangladesh),” Kohli said.

He rejected the assessment that England would have an edge if the pitch favours pacers. “…not really bothered about what the strengths and weaknesses of the English team are. We have beaten them in their home as well, where the ball does way more and hold them out every time so we’re not really bothered with that. It’s just about playing well as a team,” he said.

“And yeah, there are many, many weaknesses in the opposition side as well, if you are keen to exploit them. If it’s a seamer friendly track for them it’s for us as well,” he added. “And we probably have, among other teams, the best bowling attack in the world so we’re not really bothered by what the ball might bring differently to the table. We’re ready for anything that comes our way.”

Senior India batsman Rohit Sharma has already said that it will be another turning pitch. “Yes, spin will come into play for sure but I don’t think the new ball and fast bowlers can be ignored. The pink ball does bring them into the game till the ball is nice and shiny, something we are very well aware of and preparing accordingly,” Kohli said.

India have played only two pink-ball Tests so far. They won at home against Bangladesh in 2019 but more recently, lost to Australia heavily in Adelaide, getting bowled out for 36.

Talking about the experience his team has gained from the two outings, Kohli said: “Last time we experienced that the first session is probably the nicest to bat when the sun is out and ball doesn’t do much. But when it starts to get dark, especially during that Twilight, it gets very tricky. The light changes, it’s difficult to see the ball and then under lights, it is like playing the first session in the morning. In a normal Test match the ball does tend to swing a lot (in morning). So, I think it’s a reversal of roles and something that you need to adjust to quite quickly.”

Talking about 36 in Adelaide, he said: “These are experiences. Not a mental scar. Not a hindrance. Something you learn from and move ahead.” — PTI

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