Virat Kohli said that the balls used for the third Test in Ranchi did not stay hard long enough for the spinners to have a larger impact on the game. However, Kohli didn’t forget to give credits to Australian batsmen Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh for the way they managed to save the Test.
After conceding the first innings lead to India, Australia lost four wickets for 63 in their second attempt at the wicket. But through a century stand between Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb, Australia have made a stunning comeback and ensured that the game ended as a stalemate.
But Kohli said that the softness of the ball had a bigger say in the match and that prevented the Indian bowlers from having a sizable impact on the match.
“The wicket didn’t disappoint us. Obviously, the way the wicket is expected to break on days three, four and five, it happened, but I think the hardness of the ball was a very big factor,” the Indian captain said in the post-match presentation.
“Yesterday evening when the ball was hard, it was turning a lot faster, even this morning it was doing so but in the second session, it was not so hard, so to generate pace off the wicket becomes difficult for a bowler. When you get to a fifth-day wicket, as it is the pace becomes lesser. After that, we tried with the second new ball got a couple of wickets but in the middle session, the hardness of the ball was a factor."
But Kohli gave credit to the Aussie duo of Marsh and Handscomb for literally taking an India win out of the equation with a superb display of defense against the quality spin bowling of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
“But I don’t want to take any credit away from their effort. They batted very well. Four down by lunch, and after that, they didn’t lose a wicket in the entire session. So credit to them, when someone plays well, you have to give them credit, we understand that. But we are also very happy with our efforts. (Ravindra) Jadeja’s bowling was outstanding in this match. All the bowlers bowled very well but Jadeja, in my opinion, was the standout. If you look at his economy, on this pitch it was high-class bowling and he showed why he is the joint No. 1 bowler alongside Ashwin.”
In the innings, India changed the old ball once in the 71st over and also opted to go for the second new ball as soon as it was available. So, when Aussie skipper Steve Smith was being asked about the condition of the ball, he brushed aside the effect of the ball and said, "Haven't really thought about it. Both teams have to play with the same SG balls.”