Kohli doesn't want batsmen to allow Lyon to get on top

Kohli doesn't want batsmen to allow Lyon to get on top

India's captain Virat Kohli (L) and his Australian counterpart Tim Paine (R) are interviewed during a meet the fans event in Melbourne on December 23, 2018, ahead of their third cricket Test match. (AFP Photo)

Nathan Lyon has been India’s biggest bugbear on this tour with 16 wickets, the most by any bowler from either side, from the first two Tests. He has troubled the best of Indian batsmen, supposed best players of spin, including Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane.

He has dismissed Pujara once and Kohli twice in the series and poses the biggest threat on the MCG surface in the third Test. The India skipper acknowledged the importance of not allowing the off-spinner to get on top of them.    

“He is a very good bowler,” Kohli said. “He consistently bowls in good areas and so we have to have our plans against such a bowler so that we can also explore scoring options because if he is allowed to bowl at one spot for a long time, he becomes even more dangerous. These things you need to figure out constantly – who is bowling well in a particular series and what your plans should be against him. He has definitely bowled very well.

“For a spinner to bowl so well in Australia is a huge thing. We are taking it as a challenge, we definitely want to improve our play against him. We have put in the effort in practice, it now matters how we execute those on the field. As I said, if there is a challenge coming your way, you try and counter it. That’s our effort, if we have been dismissed in a particular way, not repeat that mode of dismissal. As cricketers, that is all you can do,” he elaborated.

Kohli also exhorted his batsmen and emphasised on the importance of their contribution in setting up wins. Barring Kohli and Pujara, and Rahane to some extent, not many batsmen have put their hand up and counted.       

“Very important thing because, as we all know and we have been talking about and as everyone can see, our bowling has been performing really well but at the same time, we have to ensure that as a batting unit, we are able to put up those runs on the board,” Kohli pointed out when asked about his batsmen’s role in realising their dream of winning the series.

“Otherwise, the bowlers won’t be able to do anything with the totals that we have been compiling. I think our aim must be to put that many runs on the board with which the bowlers can put us in a good position in the match. Then if we are batting second, we will try to take the lead or get as close to the opposition total as possible. If you equal a big score, then it becomes a second-innings match. And if you take a good first-innings lead, then you can capitalize on that. The batsmen must step up collectively. I won’t say individually whether someone needs to do that or not, but as a batting unit, we have to definitely put up a better performance.”