Virat Kohli says 'bizarre' batting, not pitch, to blame for England's two-day defeat to India in third Test
India skipper says focus should be on the batting skills of both sides rather than the pitch or the ball in Ahmedabad ahead of fourth and final Test; hosts lead the series 2-1 and are aiming to secure a spot in the World Test Championship final
Last Updated: 04/03/21 5:48am
India captain Virat Kohli has blamed England's two-day defeat in the third Test solely on "a bizarre display of batting".
Kohli has overseen two successive victories on big-spinning surfaces since England won the series opener in Chennai.
The official pitch ratings have yet to be published but, on the eve of the fourth and final Test, Kohli did little to change expectations that the ball will spin hard and early once more at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
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"There's always too much noise and conversation around spinning tracks. If you win a Test on day four or five, no-one says anything, but if you win in two days everyone pounces on the same issue," said Kohli, whose side are looking to confirm a spot in the World Test Championship final.
"I'm sure that if our media is in a space to contradict those views it could be a balanced conversation, but unfortunately everyone plays along with that narrative and keeps making it news until the time it's relevant.
"The reason for our success as a team is we haven't cribbed about any pitches we've played on. We lost in New Zealand on day three in 36 overs and none of our people wrote about the pitch.
"It was about how India played badly in New Zealand. None of the pitches were criticised, no one spoke about the ball moving, the grass.
"We need to be very honest with ourselves, what space we are talking from. What's the idea behind continuing this narrative and what purpose does it serve to continue this one-sided conversation?"
Kohli has had a moderate series with the bat so far, scoring 172 runs at 34.40 in five attempts, but remains more than happy to attribute low scoring to human error rather than any external factors.
England have suggested the pink ball used in the day/night Test skidded unpredictably but that suggestion did little to persuade the home skipper.
"I don't understand why a cricket ball or pitch are brought into focus. Why don't we focus on the fact that the batsmen were just not skilled enough on that pitch to play properly," he said.
"It was a bizarre display of batting by both teams. I will maintain that because I've played the game long enough. It's not a change in ball colour. It's still round and weighs 5.5oz, I don't know what difference it makes suddenly.
"If you just make a cricket ball or the pitch helping the bowlers the focus, you're not really reading the game properly in my opinion."
Follow text commentary from the fourth Test between India and England on skysports.com and the Sky Sports app from 3.30am on Thursday.