Virat Kohli may be going through a purple patch of his international career but England fast bowler Jimmy Anderson took a slight dig saying that if Indian captain’s technical glitches if any aren’t visible because of the helpful Indian tracks which lacks pace and movement.
Anderson had made Kohli his bunny back in 2014 during the series in England where the batsman was repeatedly nicking away going deliveries outside the off-stump. With nearly 700 runs in this series, Kohli has punished England the most.
Asked what has changed in Kohli’s technique, the seasoned Anderson’s answer wasn’t a charitable one.
“I am not sure if he (Kohli) has changed. I just think any technical deficiencies he has got are not in play out here. The wickets just take that out of the equation. There is not that pace in the wicket to get the nicks, like we did against him in England – with a bit more movement,” said England’s highest ever wicket-taker in Test matches.
“When that (pace and movement) is not there, he (Kohli) is very much suited to playing in these conditions. He is a very good player of spin – and if you are not bang on the money and don’t take your chances, he will punish you,” Anderson did not hide what he felt about Kohli’s technique on a day when the skipper scored a career-best 235.
But the veteran admitted that they could not execute their plans against Jayant Yadav despite being aware that he is a very capable batsman.
“We plan for every batsman — from Nos 1 to 11. We have played three Tests now against Yadav, so it is no surprise – we knew he can bat very competently. We had plans for him. Sometimes they don’t come off; sometimes you don’t execute your plans well enough, as was the case today. I thought he played exceptionally well,” Anderson lauded the rookie all-rounder.
He is hoping against hope that the England lower order will script a dramatic turn-around on the final day to save the visitors from another embarrassing defeat.
“We are going to come here tomorrow and try to fight our way back into this game if we can. We are 50 runs behind. If we can bat with the positive intent we showed today, there’s no reason why we can’t get a hundred ahead of them and then try to put some pressure on them with the ball,” said Anderson after England had ended Day 4 at 182 for six, still needing to make 49 runs to make the hosts bat again.
Anderson conceded that their bowling in the morning was below par which enabled India to score 128 runs in 29 overs before lunch.
“It is immensely frustrating. Coming to the ground this morning, needing to get three wickets with them 50 ahead, if we could get them we are still well in the game. Unfortunately we didn’t bowl as well as we could have first thing,” he said.
“The ball started flying around this morning, and then they got settled and managed to put on a big partnership,” added England’s highest Test wicket-taker.
Although his team’s top batsmen have found the Indian spin bowlers hard to tackle, Anderson said it can be done as was shown by Joe Root in his classy innings of 77 and Jonny Bairstow, who was unbeaten on 50 at stumps.
“I am not sure if they are too difficult to handle. They are obviously world-class spinners, but we knew the task ahead when we came over here. We knew it was going to be difficult.
“But I enjoyed watching Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow bat. I thought they did it with real positive intent, and showed you can still score runs out there,” he said.
“We hope that is a given the lads down the order a bit of confidence going into tomorrow – because we’re certainly not going to be trying to bat out for a draw. If we are going to keep this series alive, we’re going to have to try to get past them and try to put some pressure on in the fourth innings,” said Anderson at the cost of sounding impractical.
Asked whether the England spinners had improved, Anderson complimented leggie Adil Rashid in this respect.
“Adil, for me, has been the biggest improvement. Certainly he’s shown he can be England’s frontline spinner in the future.”
Asked about his own performance in the series, Anderson said he was quite happy with the way he had bowled since returning after his injury lay-off but not with the meagre returns in terms of wickets.
“I have been happy with the way I have bowled but not happy with the amount of wickets I have got. That happens – especially in these conditions. It is tough. I would have liked more wickets,” said the fast bowler who has taken just four wickets in three Tests he has played in the series so far.