Our batting in Pune Test ‘worst in last two years’: Kohli

Pune [India]: Indian skipper Virat Kohli on Saturday criticised his team ‘worst batting performance’ following the humiliating 333-run loss in the opening Test of the four-match series against Australia here at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium on Saturday.

Chasing a mammoth target of 441, India suffered a second batting collapse in two days and were bowled out for 107 runs in the second innings just on Day Three.

“We got outplayed in this game. No two ways about it. Australia were much better. We’ve got to take it on the chin. We never took them for granted,” Kohli said at the post match presentation.

“That’s probably our worst batting display in the last two years. It was a case of not applying ourselves. Have to sit down and think what we did wrong. Batting was more disappointing than the bowling. We know that Pune is generally low and slow. They exploited it better than us and bowled at a good pace.”

The 28-year-old also agreed that the Steve Smith-led side exploited the conditions better, saying, “There was a lot of pressure created on us. They deserved to win this game. I think we did pretty well. If you don’t hold onto the chances, it’s tough to get back in the game. As I said, I have no excuses. I take the loss on the chin. Big learning Test for me too.”

Kohli expressed confidence that his team will bounce back strongly in the remaining three matches.

“I am sure we are going to bounce back strongly. It has been a good run for us (19-match unbeaten streak before this game). Good to see the crowd still supporting us,” he said.

The loss ended India’s winning streak of 19 matches on the trot and also the 17 match home-winning streak. This was also Kohli’s first defeat as captain in Test cricket at home.

India last tasted a home defeat in Tests in 2012 against England.

On a dry, turning pitch that should have suited India’s spinners, Smith scored the only hundred of the match and Steve O’Keefe took as many wickets as Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja combined. Keefe was declared Man of the Match.

His 12 for 69 were the best figures ever by a visiting spinner in a Test on Indian soil. He was well supported by Nathan Lyon who picked up four in the second innings.

India are now 0-1 down in the four-match series and going into the second Test, they have a lot to think about, especially about their batting. (ANI)