After an Indian batting collapse handed England a resounding win at Headingley on Saturday, India skipper Virat Kohli said the innings-and-76-run loss was a mere "aberration" for his side.
Speaking at the post-match press conference, Kohli said: "This game has been kind of an aberration for us. Going by the way we've gone in the series in the first two games, we put ourselves in positions where we won the second Test and was also placed to win the first one as well."
HIGHLIGHTS - ENG vs IND, 3rd TEST, DAY 4
India resumed its innings on Day Four at 215 for 2, and was poised to see off the new-ball spells from the English seamers before capitalising on the excellent conditions on offer. However, Ollie Robinson's nagging lines triggered a collapse as he snapped Cheteshwar Pujara on his overnight score of 91 (189b, 15x4) before removing skipper Virat Kohli (55, 125b, 8x4) and Rishabh Pant in quick succession.
Anderson's fine spell eventually bore fruit at the other end as Ajinkya Rahane fell cheaply once again. The visitor was eventually bowled out for 278, Robinson starring for the host with figures of 5 for 65.
Kohli remained defiant, saying his team does not expect to read into numbers and statistics after a solitary loss. "We analyse ourselves as a team in terms of the situations that we put ourselves in, not by numbers. That all happens on the outside. Whether we are helping the team to build partnerships and are putting the team in good positions, that's our only focus. There's no connection with the focuses on the outside and what's within the group," he said.
Reflecting on the setbacks in the game, Kohli admitted that India's bowlers lacked consistency while the batsmen failed in the first innings (it was bundled for a paltry 78). "As a batting group, we failed in this game in the first innings. Second innings, we did a better job. As a bowling group also, we admit that we weren't consistent enough. That's it."
The 32-year-old believes that the side does not have specific issues to address before the next Test. "I've maintained this in the past for so many times that we're not going to fall into this space where we start picking on issues. We failed as a team and win as a team," he said.
Tough opening hour
Kohli opined that the England seamers maintained probing lines of attack consistently. "We batted well yesterday to bring the game to do Day Four. Things would have been better for us if I and Pujara survived through the first hour. But the way they bowled in the morning with the new ball, the lengths, in particular, forced us to be precise in our decision-making every ball. We need to know that they won't leave it easy for us moving forward, and we should put twice the effort to make runs," he said.
Break for the bowlers
With the fourth Test scheduled to begin in five days in London, Kohli said that the management would address the fatigue of its fast bowlers. "That's bound to happen (shuffling the bowlers). It's a very sensible thing to do. We don't want to push individuals to a point where they break. We'll have that conversation with them and see who's placed where physically and who needs to have a game off," Kohli said.
'We love this space'
Kohli remained confident of a quick turnaround for his side in the fourth Test while adding that the loss does not take a toll on their mental space. "We should have smashed England here if a win guarantees you another, that didn't happen because it's a new game, a new day. We like to be in this situation where people start coming at us with doubts and questioning our ability.
"I can guarantee you that we will not be demoralised by this loss. The guys in the change room are hurt. They badly want to correct the things that went wrong here and that's how we're going to play the next two Tests," Kohli remarked.
India, third in the World Test Championship points table after its defeat, will face England at the Oval in London from September 4.
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