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India can win on any pitch, says Kohli

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MOHALI: Skipper Virat Kohli Tuesday said India can win on all kinds of pitches against any side after the hosts hammered England in the third Test to take an unbeatable 2-0 series lead.

India, who are often criticised for preparing rank turners at home, savoured their eight-wicket win in the third Test at Mohali on a track which proved to be sporting.

The Indian bowlers put up a combined effort to counter the England batting from the very start after they bowled out the visitors for 283 in their first innings.

The world’s number-one ranked Test team played consistent cricket on all the four days of play as the character of the pitch did not seem to alter for the entire duration.

“It’s exactly been 12 months that I was asked a question about (are) we playing on ‘unfair pitches’ and the question has turned (on) itself,” Kohli said, referring to the pitch debate during last year’s South Africa series.

India won the four-match series against South Africa 3-0 with two games finishing inside three days on tracks, in Mohali and Nagpur, that turned square.

However the current five-match series has witnessed some good pitches in Rajkot, Visakhapatnam and Mohali with the hosts registering two straight wins after a hard-fought draw in the first game.

The wins against England have come after the hosts whitewashed New Zealand at home in September-October with the pitch at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens assisting the fast bowlers.

“We did well to get results our way. Even when in Kolkata (against New Zealand), we showed that we don’t want dry square turners, we have enough skill to play good cricket and win against any team in the world,” said Kohli.

“That’s the belief we have created in the chang(ing) room. That can only happen when you are not bothered about what’s happening outside that door and focus on your own skills.”

‘Misread this pitch’

Pace spearhead Mohammed Shami gave India some crucial wickets in the first and second innings as he returned with impressive match-figures of 5-100 in a spin dominated bowling line-up.

“He has become more aware of what he wants to do and what he has to do, to be a good Test bowler. He is making those important breakthroughs throughout the game, even Umesh (Yadav) as well,” Kohli said of his pacers.

Shami also got praise from England skipper Alastair Cook, who was not at all surprised by his good showing.

“We have always known he is a good bowler. Played a lot against him and his record in the sub-continent is actually excellent,” said Cook.

However Cook was surprised by the nature of the pitch at the Punjab Cricket Association ground as he went in with three spinners while expecting a turning track.

Gareth Batty, who ended up wicketless in his 19.2 overs in the two innings, was England’s third spinner after Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid.

“I think all of us misread this pitch. If we had known what we have known now, we would have obviously gone in with four seamers and two spinners,” said Cook.

“I looked at that wicket along with a number of people before the game and we thought it is a lot dry. We all thought it’s going to spin more.”

The fourth match is in Mumbai and scheduled to start December 8.

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