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I think the hardness of the ball was a big factor: Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli. (Photo Source: BCCI)

India captain Virat Kohli said that in the third drawn Test his spinners could have been more effective if the ball retained its hardness in the game. In the final morning reducing Australia to 63-4 after taking a 152-run first inning lead, the hosts looked in a commanding position to register their second win of the Test series.

But a wicketless session in the afternoon broke their hopes. Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh batted brilliantly for almost four hours for a fifth wicket stand of 124 runs. Kohli thought it could have been another story if the balls used in the match retained their hardness.

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“I think the hardness of the ball was a big factor,” the 28-year-old told reporters at the Jharkhand State Cricket Association Stadium.

“When the ball was new last night, it spun well off the rough. Even this morning, it was spinning well. But in the middle session, the ball was not hard, so could not generate that kind of pace from the wicket.”

After he took the new ball, Marsh was removed by Jadeja for 53, while spin partner Ravichandran Ashwin dismissed Glenn Maxwell but Australia had reached safety by then.

Virat further said that on day five, the wicket anyway slows down and the hardness of the ball in the middle session was a factor. His counterpart Steve Smith was amused when asked about his opinion.

“I haven’t really thought about it. We both use the same ball, you just got to do what you can with it,” Smith said.

Kohli further dismissed under bowling off-spinner Ashwin, currently the second-ranked Test bowler, and instead persisting with Jadeja. “The fast bowlers were more effective from the far end, the spinners from the commentary end,” Kohli explained.

“Whenever Jadeja came to bowl, he picked up a wicket or two every three-four overs. It was very difficult to change him at that stage because he was bowling in good momentum. That was one of the factors.” he added further.

India will meet Australia for the series decider at Dharamsala’s HPCA stadium from 25th of March.

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