“It is very hard to find words to express how everyone is feeling in the change room”
India started Saturday with a cushion of a 62-run lead with nine wickets in hand, and yet lost control of the match in less than an hour.
“It is very hard to put those feelings into words. We had a lead of 62-odd when we arrived today and just collapsed completely,” Kohli told Isa Guha at the post-match presentation. “As I said it is very hard to find words to express how everyone is feeling in the change room. When you work hard for two days, you play some good cricket to get yourself in a good position and then literally [in an] hour you put yourself in a position where it is impossible to win. It really hurts.”
It was the first time India had lost a Test in which Kohli had won the toss. It was a day of too many firsts that Kohli and his team would want to forget, including the ignominy of every batsman recording a single-digit score, a rare instance in Test cricket. Mayank Agarwal’s 9 was the highest individual score. Barring Wriddhiman Saha, every other specialist batsman was caught behind or in the cordon, including Kohli who was snapped up brilliantly at gully by the debutant Cameron Green. Kohli said India had found it difficult to score runs in the first innings too, but had remained vigilant and proactive – which he felt they didn’t match on the third day.
“We didn’t have enough intent batting today,” he said. “We should have probably moved the game forward a little bit from the word go because we knew it was moving day and to get 100-odd ahead with wickets in hand would have been a good position to be in. It is something that needs to be reflected and learned from and we need to put up better performances going forward.”
Unfortunately for India, Australia’s fast bowling attack was precise from ball one. Especially lethal were Pat Cummins and Josh Hazelwood who kept hitting a good length consistently, inducing the batsmen to play nearly every ball. Even Cheteshwar Pujara, usually stubborn in his resistance, lasted just eight balls.
According to Kohli, Australia were disciplined, but were helped by India’s batting deficiencies. “They bowled similar kind of areas in the first innings as well, but probably our mindset and intent was to get runs even if it is ones and twos, be in positions where you have a solid base and you are looking to go towards the ball and score runs and at the same time being disciplined. To be honest there were some good balls [delivered by Australia], but I don’t think the ball did something drastic in the morning. It was just the mindset that put us into positions where the ball took edges.
“It was pretty evident in the way we went about things: just losing one wicket after another. [That] just created an atmosphere where you felt like runs were so difficult to come by now. And [the Australian] bowlers obviously got more confidence and got a boost from that as well. It was a combination of both lack of intent and consistent areas from their bowlers as well.”
Kohli will not take part in the rest of the series since he is returning home on paternal leave. On his way out, he said India have enough time to “reflect” on the events in Adelaide, and was confident they could come back and level the series. “You want to be committed to the team’s cause and you want the team to perform really well. A result in this game would have been really nice. But I’m pretty confident that the boys going forward will reflect on this and they’ll come out with a stronger performance on Boxing Day and try to get a result our way so that the series gets more interesting.”
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