Perth, December 13: The green pitches have ceased to be "alien" for the Indian team, declared captain Virat Kohli, who is hoping that Australia will not take off the grass from the pitch for the second Test, beginning Friday.
India took a 1-0 lead in the four-match series with a 31-run win in Adelaide, and will bank on the five pace bowlers to go 2-0 up in the four-match series. "We certainly get more excited than nervous looking at lively pitches. We understand that we have a bowling attack that can bowl out the opposition now. I hope no more grass is taken off it. We as a team are pretty happy with that," said a confident Kohli at the pre-match press conference. India vs Australia: Injuries Rule Ravichandran Ashwin, Rohit Sharma Out of Perth Test.
"We just have to challenge ourselves as a batting unit and play positively, backing the bowlers to do what they did at Adelaide as well. I think this pitch is going to offer significantly more than it did at Adelaide. That is something we are very excited about.”
India named their 13-man squad for this Test, with R Ashwin and Rohit Sharma ruled out owing to injury concerns. There is every chance that India will go in with a four-pronged pace-only attack for only the third instance in their Test history, after Johannesburg (2018) and Perth (WACA, 2012).
"I have played all around the world for 10 years now and I have never played on a wicket like the one at Johannesburg to be honest. I have played at Perth as well in 2012 but was not even close to what Johannesburg was. We are not alien to pitches like these and this is nothing new for us. We know what to expect on a pitch like this. On a lively wicket where there is grass on the pitch and the surface being hard, you are as much as in the game as the opposition."
When asked about how it feels to be the Indian captain to unleash this ‘best-ever Indian pace attack', Kohli said, "I am lucky that when they are at their peak I am the captain. To be honest I haven't gone scouting for them, they have been playing for a while and it is just that these five have come into their own when I was the captain. So I am not going to sit here and take credit for unleashing some one."
"If you don't get 20 wickets you don't win a Test match, regardless of whether you scored 600 or 700 or 800. It is insignificant. If you get 300 on the board and you have guys who can get 20 wickets then you are fine as a team. The way they have bowled in the last three tours, it is amazing. They are hungry for wickets and are not giving easy runs. I am sure it is very exciting for those who are watching us play."
Kohli also emphasised that though it is very "exciting phase" to be in, but they need to build on it. "We cannot be complacent and be satisfied with just one win. We need to keep repeating the good things to win a series. Playing away is always challenging but even if you want to win games at home, you need to be consistent and that is something that we are working on,” he said.
Certain DRS issues have cropped up after the Adelaide Test, with Australia particularly miffed at some of the marginal decisions not going their way. For India, there is also the issue of no balls, but Kohli underlined that the concerned bowlers have already worked on those.
"We had a word with the umpires. You have to take all the pros and cons of it. Sometimes the inconclusive decisions go your way, sometimes they don't. Sometimes there is a spike in the snickometer but no hotspot. There are variables in the technology for sure. But if it weren't for DRS, you probably would be in a different situation in a game. Probably as a batter or as the fielding side, you don't have any second chance of checking a decision that could be game changing. I am okay with it."
"Nothing is going to be perfect. There is human error too. I don't think anything can be totally error-free. I just think that until a few things are rectified we need to take these in our stride," Kohli said. Talking about the no balls, he added, “As I mentioned about this after the last game, Ishant (Sharma) himself was very keen to rectify it. So I don't think it was something that needed to be spoken about again and again."
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