India captain Virat Kohli hailed his side’s victory over England in Chennai as “the perfect game” for his side and suggested a superior mentality helped them combat a difficult surface.
Kohli was an early victim of the big spin on offer in the second Test, bowled for a duck by Moeen Ali on the first morning as one ripped off the pitch, but ended up overseeing a huge 317-run win.
There was plenty of criticism about the conditions from former players in the first two days, but centuries from Rohit Sharma in the first innings and Ravichandran Ashwin in the second showed up the flaws in some of the more extreme assessments.
For his part, Kohli accepted the pitch had proved difficult but was more than happy to praise the resolve of his side in match-winning making totals of 329 and 286.
Superb character and fighting spirit on display.🙌 Well done boys. The focus is now on the next one. 🇮🇳💪 pic.twitter.com/TEVceiOhYM
— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) February 16, 2021
“Conditions were challenging for both sides but we showed more application, grit and determination to battle it out,” Kohli said.
“We didn’t panic looking at the amount of turn and bounce on that pitch. We trusted our defence, got into the game and scored over 600 in two innings combined.
“If you put up that kind of a batting performance, and you string up those important partnerships, then we know that our bowlers are going to do the job in our home conditions. It was the perfect game for us.
“Both teams had to apply themselves, which is what you want in Test cricket whether on spinning tracks or seaming tracks which have a lot of grass on it.”
I can’t express how I feel right now, but I am so very grateful to each and everyone who has wished me over the last few days. I would also like to thank the #KnowledgableChennaiCrowd for turning up in numbers and making me feel like a hero. 🙏🙏🙏 pic.twitter.com/VXEgC0GU2D
— Ashwin 🇮🇳 (@ashwinravi99) February 16, 2021
Player-of-the-match Ashwin was a constant thorn in England’s side, taking eight wickets to go with his first hundred in five years.
He gave the pitch ‘debate’ even shorter shrift, suggesting that India were used to dealing with the same kind of stacked odds when they travelled outside Asia.
“Everyone is entitled to their opinion,” Ashwin said.
“We will also have our opinions when we tour abroad. We don’t crib. We just get on with it.
“Our greats, Be it Ravi Shastri or Sunil Gavaskar, they never talk about pitches having a lot of grass or all these things. It is a mentality thing.