India captain Virat Kohli insisted his side are unfazed by the possibility of extra assistance for England’s seamers with the pink ball in the third Test at Ahmedabad.
The tourists have been encouraged by what they have seen in net practice for the day-night affair at the newly-rebuilt Motera Stadium at Ahmedabad, which is expected to hold around half of its 110,000-capacity this week.
While any seam-friendly conditions would be expected to give England a boost after they failed their trial by spin in Chennai last week as India levelled the four-match series, Kohli is contented by the options he has available.
In Jasprit Bumrah, India have one of the world’s best pacemen while Ishant Sharma, who is set to make his 100th Test appearance on Wednesday, took nine wickets in the only previous day-night contest to be held in the country.
On that occasion in Kolkata in November 2019 all of India’s wickets against Bangladesh were taken by fast bowlers, but even if the tourists get their wish, Kohli pointed out his side have prospered in English conditions.
“We’re not really bothered about what the strengths and weaknesses of the English team are,” Kohli said. “We have beaten them on their home as well where the ball does way more and bowled them out every time.
“There are many, many weaknesses in the opposition side as well if you are keen to exploit them. If the seamer-friendly track is for them it’s for us as well.
“And we probably have, among other teams the best bowling attack in the world so we’re not really bothered by what the ball might bring differently to the table. We’re ready for anything that comes out of it.”
Joe Root expressed the hope that India’s capitulation to 36 all out in their last pink-ball Test against Australia in December is at the “back of their minds”, but England have also had unpleasant experiences in day-night cricket.
They were bowled out for 58 against New Zealand in Auckland the last time they played against a pink ball three years ago, but Kohli believes nothing can be gleaned from that.
“Both are bizarre experiences for two quality sides,” Kohli said. “Not a hindrance, not something that is a mental scar, but something that we learn from to move ahead.”
Who doesn't love the crowd 🤗🤗
— BCCI (@BCCI) February 23, 2021
Kohli believes the thousands who attend this Test can swing momentum in their favour, adding: “The crowd plays a massive role.
“The crowds really get behind us and (make) the difference which we saw in the second Test – you know the opposition does feel the pressure, when you go to play in Australia, England, South Africa, New Zealand, anywhere.
“I’ve experienced that as a batsman who walks into the field and 30,000 fans are booing you or clapping when the bowler’s running in to bowl. It does play on your head.
“That’s what playing at home is all about, not only about the conditions on the field but 50,000 people and their energy behind your team. It pushes you in the right direction and it puts a lot more pressure on the opposition.”