Former England captain Nasser Hussain has lauded Virat Kohli for his spectacular captaincy during the fourth-Test against England at The Oval. Kohli managed his bowlers in an organized manner on the final day, which helped the visitors seal a 157-run victory and take a 2-1 lead in the series.
After the England batsmen were off to a good start, India's bowlers soon started to make their way through the England batting line-up on Day 5 of the fourth Test. Umesh Yadav was the pick of the bowlers and registered figures of 3/76 and 3/60 during the first and second innings respectively. Shardul Thakur, Ravindra Jadeja and Jasprit Bumrah also put up impressive performances.
Nasser Hussain, the former England captain praised Virat Kohli for effectively managing his bowlers on a batting-friendly wicket.
“I said at the start of the fifth day that it was going to be a big test of Virat Kohli’s captaincy and he passed that test with flying colours,” Hussain wrote in his column in the DailyMail.
“That Oval pitch offered very little for the seamers and only a bit of rough for Ravindra Jadeja's left-arm spin. But somehow, he manufactured 10 English wickets on the last day. Every bowling change worked, and so did every tweak to the field. And when he took the second new ball after tea, it produced a wicket straightaway, with Umesh Yadav getting Craig Overton.
“One way or another, this was Kohli’s Midas Test everything he touched turned to gold, and India are now one game away from a famous series victory, not long after beating Australia in their own backyard."
Kohli’s decision to not go with all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin for the fourth-Test had faced a lot of criticism by cricket experts and fans alike. The India captain effectively used Ravindra Jadeja, while employing the pacers in short-bursts. Hussain lauded Kohli's smart rotation of bowlers, and remarked that it was someting that England captain Joe Root had failed to do.
“Even the non-selection of Ravichandran Ashwin, the top-ranked spinner in Test cricket, became irrelevant. People said India would miss him. Kohli said: 'No, we won't. I'm backing our seamers to do the job.' And he was right,” Hussain further wrote.
“Kohli also used Jadeja cleverly – in a way that Root failed to do with Moeen Ali on the fourth day. By keeping his spinner on at one end, India's captain could rotate the quicks at the other, using them in short, sharp bursts and keeping them fresh. By ignoring Moeen, Root ended up bowling his seamers into the ground, with possible consequences for the fifth Test at Old Trafford.”
India now lead the five-match Test series by 2-1. The fifth-Test is scheduled to start on Friday, September 10, at Old Trafford, Manchester.