By Amlan Chakraborty
NEWDELHI (Reuters) – It takes an all-round, clinical performance to win a test in three days but Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli was particularly pleased at how the team’s pacers outshone spinners in the opening test against visitors Bangladesh.
India’s home success is often attributed to their time-tested formula of subjecting tourists to a trial by spin, with their pacers playing second fiddle on rank turners. But Kohli’s men shattered that notion with pacers claiming 14 of the 20 wickets in Indore, with Mohammed Shami netting seven.
Such was the impact of India’s three-pronged pace attack that India did not feel the need of spin in Saturday’s first session when Bangladesh began their second innings.
The home team’s choice of a green-tinged surface for the series opener at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in the central Indian city also came as a surprise to many.
Talking to broadcasters Star Sports, quick Umesh Yadav confirmed there has been a tactical shift.
“Earlier, our job as new-ball bowlers was to send down a couple of overs and withdraw, paving way for the spinners to operate on turning tracks,” the right-arm quick said.
“Now things have changed. Now as quicks, we know conditions would be different and so we have our plans ready.”
“The incentive for us is if you take more wickets, you get to bowl more.”
It was another fine display by the pacers, who were equally impressive in last month’s 3-0 rout of South Africa despite missing spearhead Jasprit Bumrah due to injury.
Kohli led India to their maiden test series victory in Australia earlier this year and they are one draw away from their 12th consecutive home series victory.
Kohli has been open about his ambition to develop a team of world-beaters, capable of winning anywhere regardless of surface and conditions. The 31-year-old reckons he finally has the pace attack to realise that dream.
“Absolutely, these guys are on top of their game. It looks like a different pitch when they bowl,” Kohli gushed.
“Right now, Jasprit isn’t in the attack, so you can imagine when he comes back and these four guys play overseas. It’s going to be one hell of an attack to counter.
“It’s a dream combination for any skipper when you have guys who can pick wickets in every spell. You just need to put runs on the board. It makes life easier … Having strong bowlers the most important thing in any team.”
Kolkata, eastern Indian city, will host from Friday the second and final match, which will be the first ever day-night test for both sides.
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty; Editing by Himani Sarkar)