Would like to have Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli in my team, says Justin Langer

Virat Kohli made his 39th ODI hundred on Tuesday, helping India overhaul the target of 299 and thereby level the three-match series.

Justin Langer heaped praise on Virat Kohli after yet another hundred in a successful run chase from the Indian batting maestro.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

Australia coach Justin Langer compared Virat Kohli with Sachin Tendulkar and said the Indian captain’s balance while playing 360-degree shots in all formats of the game is “unbelievable“.

After his 39th ODI hundred helped India to a series-levelling win in Adelaide, Langer heaped praise on Kohli, saying the India skipper is currently having the same impact on international cricket as Tendulkar.

“I would like to have them both in my team. Sachin was an incredible cricketer. I used to watch him and it was like he was meditating. He was so calm and that’s why his record is peerless,” Langer said after Australia’s six-wicket loss in the second ODI here.

“Virat is doing the same thing. He is so calm and so competitive, and technically his balance is unbelievable. For him to play 360-degree shots in all formats of the game, his balance is unbelievable.”

Langer said it is a blessing in disguise for the young Australian cricketers to play against class players like Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

“He (Kohli) is a great competitor and his concentration is extraordinary and for someone to make so many runs as he has it is incredible like all the great players,” he said.

“Sachin and Virat, and MS Dhoni, who averages 50-plus in 340 games, they are all-time great players and our guys are in the best seats at the moment, playing some of the best all-time great ODI players and they will be better from the experience,” Langer added.

Dhoni slammed an unbeaten 55 off 54 balls after Kohli laid the foundation for India’s series-levelling victory in the second ODI with a fluent 104.

Langer said the inexperience of his side showed as first Kohli marshalled the middle overs and then Dhoni turned back time to finish the chase with four balls to spare.

“We were playing against three all-time great one-day international players (also referring to Rohit Sharma at the SCG). We saw it in the first one, and class always come to the top, and we have seen that with India so we must respect that,” he said.

“The way Virat and MS batted today, you hate losing but when you see that - it’s amazing. That’s why they are such great players so we will gain great experience from it.

“In big tournaments like the World Cup, I like to see our guys under pressure like they were tonight so it will be much better for the experience. And it’s still one-all in the series, and it means it’s alive and well. The MCG game is going to be huge, and we can’t wait for that,” he added.

Shaun Marsh’s seventh ODI hundred helped Australia set up a tall score of 298 for nine, but India rode on the experience of Kohli and Dhoni and overhauled the target (299) with four balls to spare.

Langer was full of praise for Marsh, who has been Australia’s best ODI batsman in recent times.

“I thought Shaun Marsh’s innings was absolutely brilliant. We had some good 50-run partnerships but we talked about getting big hundreds, Shaun did that.

“We probably lost those two wickets just at the end with Shaun and Glenn Maxwell getting out just at the end. It might have cots us 15 or so runs which obviously in the context of this game it would have been handy,” said Langer.

“He’s turning into a great one-day international player, four hundreds in eight games. You’d like to see him get hundreds and win. It would have been a perfect day for him,” he signed off.

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