Virat Kohli, the Indian captain, hailed Rohit Sharma’s magnificent 161 in the first innings of the second Test against England at Chepauk as the “defining moment” in India coming back in the series and winning it 3-1 eventually.
Rohit’s memorable hundred on a raging turner helped India bounceback strongly from their chastening defeat in the first Test. He also went on to play crucial knocks in the following two Tests where the hosts dominated the visitors to earn big victories.
Rohit played a major role in taking India to the final of the World Test Championship.
Rohit gave us important knocks through the series: Kohli
“Rohit’s knock was the defining moment in us coming back into the series. Getting 160 (161) on that pitch is as good as getting 250 on any good batting wicket. It is definitely one of his best Test knocks, if not the best. That gave us the kind of momentum we needed as a side and it really got us into the contest. So, yeah, it was an outstanding innings,” said Kohli at the post-match presentation in Ahmedabad.
“He batted really well at the top of the order throughout the series, he gave us important knocks, important partnerships as well which is unnoticed when you don’t get those three figures.”
The comeback was very pleasing: Kohli
As India’s fighting spirit shone through to add another series win to his tally, Kohli said he was extremely pleased by the comeback after going down heavily in the first Test.
“The comeback pleased me the most. The first game was a bit of an aberration in the way that we play as a team – that was just a hiccup,” he said. “England outplayed us. The toss became very crucial because of the way the pitch played on the first two days; I don’t think the bowlers were in the contest at all.”
“From the next game onwards it was more exciting cricket and we got into the game early. Even in the second innings (of the first Test) in Chennai we bowled and fielded with a lot more intensity. So for me the comeback was way more pleasing and the way we batted in the second Test match in Chennai.”
Kohli impressed with India’s bench strength
Kohli raved over India’s unprecedented bench strength, recognising the efforts of Axar Patel, Washington Sundar and Rishabh Pant through the series. The trio left their mark by performing when the team most needed it.
“Our bench strength has been as strong as it has ever been,” said Kohli. “That’s a great sign for Indian cricket. The idea was exactly this: to have youngsters who come in and perform with fearlessness, take the situations on so that when the transition happens eventually it is not difficult for Indian cricket and the standard does not fall below what we have set in the last few years.”
“It is up to the individuals as well, like taking the situation on, like Rishabh and Washy did with that game-changing partnership and then Axar as well – a 100-run partnership.”
“These are the kind of situations where individuals stand up and say: ‘okay, I’m going to make a mark and be that player who can be counted on.’ That is exactly what they have done,” he added.