Indian skipper Virat Kohli on Saturday hardly minced words in criticising his team’s shambolic show in the 333-run loss to Australia, saying it was easily the side’s worst batting display in the last two years.
India slumped to a humiliating loss inside three days in the first match against Australia here to trail the four-Test series 0-1. “We got outplayed in this game. We got to take it on the chin, accept that they outplayed us. It was our worst batting display in the last two years. We were not good enough on any of the three days. It was the case of us not applying ourselves too well. We need to see what we did wrong,” said Kohli at the post match presentation.
The Indian captain also agreed that the visitors exploited the conditions better. “They exploited it better than us. They put us under pressure throughout and deserved to win this game. Credit to them that they played better than us.
“We’ve had two really bad sessions and to pull it back against a quality side is very difficult. But there are no excuses. Sometimes, you have to take your hat off and tell the opposition well done,” he said.
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The 28-year-old expressed confidence that his team will bounce back strongly. “I am sure we are going to bounce back strongly. It has been a good run for us (19-match unbeaten streak before this game). Good to see the crowd still supporting us,” said Kohli.
Australia captain Steven Smith was all praise for man-of-the-match Steve O’Keefe, terming his match-haul of 12 for 70 an “incredible” performance. “I’m proud of the way the guys played. O’Keefe bowled beautifully and was outstanding. We’ve got some good players of spin and good spinners. When he pulled his length back slightly (O’Keefe), it felt he’d get a wicket every ball. He’s going to be a key player in the rest of the series,” he said.
Smith said winning the toss proved to be an advantage on a track like this. “Thought it was going to be hardwork (after looking at the wicket at the start of the Test match). Winning the toss was a bonus. We had good plans in place. It’s been 4502 days since Australia won a Test in India, I know it to the day. A massive lead in this wicket helped.”
On how he would rate his second innings century, Smith said, ‘Right up there.’ “You need to have some luck on a wicket like that. It took a lot of grit and determination. Put on some total on the board for the boys to defend.”
O’Keefe gave a lot of credit for his performance to Smith and his team’s fielding. “The first innings was a bit of blur. The ball tended to skid on more than spin so it exposed the stumps and the lbw. My first six wickets was ordinary, I had to change it up quickly. A lot of credit should go to the captain and the fielders. Our batters worked really hard not to get beaten on one edge,” said O’Keefe.
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“It is good to go 1-0 up but there is a lot of work to do in the rest of the series. I am enjoying my experience (on the spinning pitches). I am looking forward to the second Test in Bangalore,” he added.
His spin partner Nathan Lyon said they tried to replicate what India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has been doing. “Our plan was to compete hard, we did. We saw a lot of Ashwin, and we tried to replicate what he does in these conditions. Great, I’ll take this pitch everywhere.”
Australia coach Darren Lehmann said his players learnt lessons from the preceding tour of Sri Lanka. “Great result, really impressed with our batting. It’s a challenge for both sides. We learned some lessons from Sri Lanka. A challenge to replicate that in Bangalore,” concluded the coach.