Virat Kohli puts India defeat down to ‘bizarre’ first innings batting collapse


India captain Virat Kohli admitted his side left themselves no way out after a “bizarre” batting collapse on day one effectively settled the third LV= Insurance Test at Headingley.

England levelled the series with an innings-and-76-run victory, a heavy victory that was on the cards from the moment they skittled the tourists for 78 at the start of the match.

The hosts never relinquished control from that point on, stockpiling a 354-run lead before finishing the job on Saturday morning with another clatter of wickets.

Having fought hard to frustrate England for 80 overs on day three, India were still 139 behind when play resumed and lost their last eight wickets for 63.

“It was basically down to scoreboard pressure. You’re are always up against it when you get out for under 80, and the opposition puts up such a big score,” Kohli told the post-match presentation.

“It’s quite bizarre but it can happen in this country, batting collapses. We thought the pitch was good to bat on, coming on nicely. But the discipline forced mistakes and the pressure was relentless.

“It’s difficult to cope when you’re not scoring runs and that caused the batting order to crumble.

“We did well to stay in the game yesterday, fight back as much as we could, and gave ourselves a chance but the pressure was outstanding from the England bowlers.”

England v India – cinch Third Test – Day Four – Emerald Headingley
England’s Ollie Robinson celebrates after claiming the wicket of India captain Virat Kohli.

India’s decision to overlook leading spinner Ravichandran Ashwin throughout the series has caused plenty of debate, given his consistency as a wicket-taking option with the ball and his useful lower-order batting.

He is sure to warrant further consideration ahead of the fourth Test at the Kia Oval, but Kohli hinted that he may stick to his guns.

“It depends on the pitch – assess the surface, how much moisture – and our decision will be based on that,” he said.

“I think this template works, the four seamers. We’ve bounced back in the past and there are things we need to improve but we will take pride in trying to correct those errors.

“It’s something we are looking forward to.”