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Time to show character: Kohli

Virat Kohli

Calcutta: On both innings at the Ageas Bowl, Virat Kohli had got off to starts and looked impressive. But just when it appeared as if he was set to make it count after disappointing shows in the first two Tests, Kohli perished.

India badly needed a batsman of his calibre to stay at the crease and resume their struggle on the final day of this third Test and that too, on a pitch that isn’t getting any easier for batting.

Unfortunately for the visitors, just as he edged a moving ball to the slip-cordon off James Anderson in the first innings, Kohli nicked a straighter one to wicket-keeper Jos Buttler at the fag end of Day IV, giving Moeen Ali his second wicket and helping England inch closer to victory.

Admitting that these kind of dismissals are serving as “wake-up calls”, Kohli rued the nick.

“The similar thing happened to me in Australia back in 2012. I was getting to 30s beautifully and suddenly fished one outside the off-stump to be back in the hut. So, that’s something you need to accept as a professional cricketer.

“I did make a couple of mistakes to be honest. That said, you cannot bat perfectly for 150 balls or so against a quality opposition. You might not be beaten for 60 balls, but may nick one all of a sudden. That’s the wake-up call for you.

“I was in my zone, hitting the ball well and leaving more of them. Wednesday was one of those situations when someone needed to step up. When I went in, I got set… Was feeling good… But if you nick the first ball that beats your bat, you really can’t do much.

“You need to have one of those days when you play and miss a few and still keep having things going your way. That’s the bit of fortune you need in this sport. I’ve realised that as a professional cricketer,” he said after the day’s play.

Talking about India’s batting in this Test, Kohli said that some dismissals could certainly have been avoided. “Honestly, England have played really well in this Test, especially after getting a big total in the first innings. Now, in the innings that we batted, we could certainly have avoided some dismissals… Some of the wickets were given away easily… Those dismissals cost us sessions and put us in the back foot.

“England have played better cricket on more than few occasions, they won more sessions than us.

“Thursday is one day where we need to show character. There might be even tougher days ahead, but you have to face them and survive if you want to win a series in England… It’s about showing the belief your team has in you,” he said.

Kohli is banking on Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma to bail India out on the fifth and final day. “Fortunately, England don’t have a left-arm spinner bowling on this wicket. It’s still going to be difficult, though.

“That said, the proceedings on Thursday this will define our character… We still have Ajinks (Rahane) and Rohit at the crease. Both of them did well in the first innings, so we do believe they have it in them to get us out of trouble,” he said.