Don't blame pitch, shot selection and application were poor: Virat Kohli

Skipper Kohli refuses to agree that early end to opening Test against South Africa was due to spin-friendly Mohali pitch

Mohali: One of the biggest talking points surrounding the first Test at Mohali has been the pitch. That debate has only intensified after the Test lasted only three days. In all, the spinners accounted for 34 wickets, with India winning by 108 runs. Chasing 218 to win, South Africa were shot out for 109, with Ravindra Jadeja taking five for 21.

Also read: India beat South Africa by 108 runs in 1st Test at Mohali

Virat Kohli celebrates the wicket of AB de Villiers on Saturday. Pic/PTI
Virat Kohli celebrates the wicket of AB de Villiers on Saturday. Pic/PTI

India captain Virat Kohli maintained that there was nothing wrong in playing on such a wicket. "It would have been the right track if the game would have gone on for five days, so why not in three days? If we lose in England, no one asks if the track was good or not," he said.

Shot judgment errors
Kohli brushed aside suggestions that his batsmen were done in by the fear of spin."I can comment on our batting. We made errors rather than fear of spin. We made shot judgment errors. We know that it has been committed, it will be reflected upon and corrected, next time we come out to play," Kohli, who won his first home game as captain, told reporters here on Saturday.

On Day One, India were bowled out for 201, with part-timer Dean Elgar taking four for 22. Elgar himself wasn't too impressed with the wicket. South Africa conceded a 17-run lead and allowed India to finish Day Two on 125 for two. However, India collapsed to 200 all-out on Day Three, losing their last eight wickets for only 39 runs. Imran Tahir and Simon Harmer took four wickets apiece.

It wasn't so much about the supposed demons in the wicket, as much as it was about the lack of application by the batsmen. "I would agree that we could have applied ourselves better," said South African skipper Hashim Amla. Kohli concurred with his counterpart, "If you are an international cricketer then you have to use that ability and apply it," Kohli said.

The efforts by Cheteshwar Pujara (77) and Murali Vijay (47) may be a case in point. Both batsmen applied themselves well and looked far more comfortable than the rest in both innings. Though AB de Villiers struggled to begin in the first innings, he managed to adapt and get a fifty. In fact, many batsmen were done in by the lack of turn. Amla was one of the victims as he shouldered arms to one from Jadeja, that crashed into the middle-stump. "The chat we (South Africa) had in our meeting (before the run-chase) was that the ball wasn't turning much,"

Amla said. South Africa reworked their batting order, sending Vernon Philander to open the batting, a move that failed. Once Faf du Plessis, Amla and de Villiers were dismissed in the first ten overs, India were almost assured of a victory. With this Test ending on Day Three, the players get a week's layoff before the second at Bangalore, which starts on November 14.

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