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Kohli: Proud of each other's efforts 

Mon, 7th, Aug 2017 |
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This Virat Kohli led Indian team has been on a winning spree post the 2014-15 Australian tour. His boys haven't cared about the location or opposition and by playing fearless cricket have now extended their unbeaten series streak to 8, just one behind the world record that Australia owns. 

India completed an outright victory against Sri Lanka taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in the 3 match Test series at Colombo. Skipper Kohli, in the press match conference, spoke on how his team takes it one game at a time while not allowing the dominant away from home factor letting affect their game.

Also, the fact that this being the weakest ever competing Lankan side hasn't crawled into their heads and at no point have the Indians taken the hosts lightly. 

But a Test series whitewash on foreign soil is a huge achievement. Kohli's number one Indian side will have a shot at glory on August 12 in Pallekele where the 3rd Test begins. 

"Well, it's obviously nice to win this series again. We won this last time also, in 2015. Yes, we do have that chance [of a whitewash], but honestly speaking, we are not looking at Test matches or Test cricket now as home and away anymore. We are just looking at Test matches as Test matches and we want to win anywhere that we play," Kohli said.

"If we can believe enough in our abilities then we are not really bothered about where we are playing. That kind of energy I can sense in the team, and the team believes that as well. We are creating a habit of winning that I think can be carried on in future as well."

His team has been scaling new heights, especially with every member chipping in at some point. 

"In the dressing room we feel really proud of each other's efforts, that we're really putting in those consistent, convincing performances, and winning Test matches more often than getting the other results. We really feel good as a team that we're able to win consistently right now, but we realise that it's very important to keep carrying on the same way as well," he added.

Clearly stating the importance and seriousness of playing the longer format, Kohli added, "For us, this is priority. Test cricket is the most important thing for us and everyone plays with a lot of passion."

"If you see, last nine Test matches, six times we've got 600 runs. That shows the hunger of the batsmen, they are waiting for an opportunity, there are lower order contributions as well," he said.

"You expect teams playing Test cricket to come out and play like that. Because of the way we got wickets in the first innings sometimes frustration can creep in when we don't get wickets in a session. But you have to realize that those eight wickets we would have probably liked to get them throughout the day if you spread it into three sessions," Kohli said.

When Karunaratne and Mendis stuck on the wicket after following on, Kohli did not try to do something different. 

He trusted his spinners by giving them enough time and extra overs on Day 3 despite proving ineffective in the last 2 sessions. 

This confidence shown by the skipper translated into a match-winning effort on the next day when Jadeja galloped 5 of the remaining 8 wickets to set up a thumping win. 

"The bowlers did an outstanding job by pulling things back and keeping it simple. And that's what happens in test cricket, sessions go away from you and you have to pull it back to win a test match," Kohli said.

Talking more about the marathon stand, marathon in the context of the current Sri Lankan side which was shot for 183 in the first innings, Kohli termed it as a "challenge." 

"I think it was very good for us from a team's point of view. We were up against a challenge in the last four sessions that we played yesterday and today. We managed to turn things around," he added.

Kohli pulled out a weapon against spinners when he begun sweeping them last year to perfection. Mendis in particular had taken a similar approach by mastering the sweep shot at SSC which became a huge source for his run scoring.

"People play in different ways and I don't think they drove even a single ball. There was no driving on that pitch. My approach or Ajinkya's or Pujara's might be very different, so it's all about finding way to score runs," Kohli said.

"It happens in cricket sometimes that you play a particular shot and suddenly it becomes a productive shot in that particular innings for you. I think it was a high quality innings; not even one sweep was mistimed or in the air. So, we have to give credit to the batsmen there."

Fresh after a night's break, Ashwin and company wiped off the Lankans in the first session of day 3 to take a massive 439 run lead. So it wasn't a difficult decision to enforce a follow-on.

"See 183 all out and lead of 440 prompted us, looking at the wicket the way it was spinning, not to bat again. And we had only bowled 40 or 48 overs in the 1st innings. So bowlers were fresh and we got lunch break in between as well.

"We ended up enforcing the follow on because we felt we have enough on the board not to bat again. If this was like 200 or something, we could have still batted and score 200 or 250 runs and put them again," said the skipper.

Now with his match winner Jadeja serving a one match ban, Kohli will have an opportunity to field chinaman Kuldeep Yadav as the 2nd spinner at Pallekele. 

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