The kind of intensity generated for the second Test was phenomenal. Virat Kohli and his men walked into the Chinnaswamy stadium one down in the series. The mighty Australians had just registered their first victory in India in more than 12 years. A gutting loss to Australia after a long period of dominance at home threw some glaring inadequacies of the Indian team into the sun.
The indispensable quality of a captain is to take daunting decisions in the field and constantly back his teammates to achieve. While there were some slip-ups in the captaincy department, Virat Kohli's undying aggression and optimism were crucial in determining India's success in this game.
However, India's biggest hope with the bat couldn't execute his discipline long enough in the first innings. He tried to leave a flatter delivery that went on to come straight at him and Nathan Lyon had him trapped in front of the stumps. Unsure of the proceedings, he asked the non striker if the ball would've gone on to hit the stumps. The non striker seemed clueless. Kohli decided to take a review in what turned out to be a plumb LBW.
India failed to cross 200 runs for the third consecutive time in the series. The prime batsmen in the top order inspired no confidence. But you could see a sign of resilience in Captain Kohli as the Indian team walked in to bowl. He motivated the bowlers to bowl in their areas and go for wickets, keeping them completely aware of the match situation. He had words of encouragement every time a pacer or spinner would complete his run up.
Virat Kohli has been known as a player who never minces words and gives it back to the opposition. His persistence as a competitive personality in the Indian ranks has time and again been applauded by various legends across continents. Whether it was engaging in “friendly” banter with Steve Smith or Matt Renshaw, he focused on creating a high pressure environment for the batsmen. Be it the last over before lunch or tea or the end of the day, he didn't allow his teammates to be complacent at any point in time. He made field changes and stayed animated throughout.
The disappointing part of his captaincy was, of course, underbowling Ravindra Jadeja, who went on to pick the most number of wickets despite bowling the fewest overs among the four bowlers. Also, there was overemphasis on Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav, who failed to pose sufficient threats.
Coming into bat during the second innings, Virat Kohli was adjudged out on what was a marginal LBW decision. There was no conclusive evidence of whether the ball touched the bat or pad first. The benefit of doubt was given to the call of umpire Nigel Llong, who had raised the finger. He wasn't quite satisfied with the decision as he could be seen walking and shaking his head.
While the Pujara-Rahane partnership helped India set a target of 187, it was still not possible to say whether that was going to be enough. Virat Kohli moulded an outfit that would give a tough fight till the very last ball, no matter what stage the game was at. After every big wicket, there was a celebration in the midst. It wasn't any anger, just his passion regarding the game being displayed to the utmost and coming out along the lines of natural flair.
In fact, his thrusting confidence on Ashwin and Jadeja was personified in the way both of them exposed the Australian batsmen on a grueling fourth day. His clever bowling changes never allowed the Aussie batsmen to adapt. Thus, the Aussie camp started coming under pressure, which was another turning point as the hosts rallied to a thrilling victory.
While his batting might have not done most of the talking in this game, he made sure his captaincy had a beneficial impact on his teammates. Virat Kohli has easily been India's best batsman in this long elongated home season. 'Cometh the hour, Cometh the man' there's no doubt he would surely step up when the occasion arises. And when that happens, Australia better be aware. Because all it takes is one good innings to swing the momentum back.
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