London: Virat Kohli is optimistic that India can compete in challenging conditions in Australia despite a crushing 4-1 defeat to England that compounded a disappointing away record in Tests.
England wrapped up victory at the Oval on Tuesday, winning the final match of the series against the number one side in the world by 118 runs late on the fifth day.
But despite the comprehensive nature of the series defeat, Kohli took positives from the tour as he looked forward to Australia, where India have never won a Test series.
“What matters to me is the kind of attitude you play cricket with,” the Indian captain said. “We said at the end of the fourth game that we won’t throw in the towel and we didn’t.
“This kind of series shows you exactly the kind of character of individuals and I see that as an opportunity and not adversity because if you keep winning all the time a lot of faults are swept under the carpet, you don’t realise the faults you need to work on.”
Kohli, who was top-scorer in the series with 593 runs, said India had created pressure at various times in England but had not capitalised on key moments.
“We were not able to hold that pressure for long enough with the bat and the ball as well, so at crucial stages we could not keep that pressure on for long, and that is why they took advantage of those situations better than us,” he said.
For all India are the world’s top-ranked side, they have now won just one of their past nine series outside Asia.
But a number of factors are in India’s favour for their Australia tour.
They boast arguably their finest-ever pace attack and will face a team still without the banned Steve Smith and David Warner and with fitness doubts over their attack.
When asked if he was confident about the four-match Test series, which starts in December, Kohli talked of the strides the team has made.
“The progress has been there… we need to recognise when the situation is in our favour and how to solidify that situation even further, and make sure that the opposition cannot get back in to the game,” he said.
“More often than not (against England), we have given the advantage to the opposition rather than them brilliantly turning around a situation.”
And Kohli spoke about the need to compete from the first ball of the series.
“We can’t warm up in to a series because the first Test is always crucial, and we need to make sure we are in the right frame of mind to be able to do all the things right to strike first,” he said.