India captain Virat Kohli insisted his side would not be “demoralised” by a resounding innings-and 76-run defeat in the third Test at Headingley on Saturday that saw England level the five-match series at 1-1.
The tourists’ fate in Leeds was effectively sealed when they were dismissed for just 78 by an England team without six first-choice bowlers after Kohli won the toss.
“I can guarantee one thing, we will not be demoralised by this loss,” said Kohli.
When England batted, captain Joe Root made 121 — his third century of the series and sixth in Tests this year — in a total of 432 on his Yorkshire home ground.
India’s batsmen fought back, with Cheteshwar Pujara making 91, before the tourists succumbed to the new ball on Saturday’s fourth day.
They lost their last eight wickets for 63 runs in 19.3 overs before lunch, with Ollie Robinson taking a Test-best 5-65.
Yet India had arrived at Headingley 1-0 up in the five-match series after enjoying the better of a rain-marred draw at Trent Bridge before a decisive 151-run win at Lord’s.
And even though there is little time before the fourth Test at the Oval starts on Thursday, Kohli had no doubts about India’s ability to bounce back in London.
“You can’t become a bad team overnight,” the star batsman told reporters.
“If what happens in one game guarantees you the same thing in the next game, we should have smashed England again, which didn’t happen because it’s a new day,” added Kohli, whose 55 on Saturday was his highest score of this series.
India were dismissed for just 36 while losing the first Test against Australia in Adelaide in December only for an injury-hit squad to claim a memorable 2-1 series win.
“We like to be in this situation where people start coming at us with doubts and really start questioning the ability of our team,” said Kohli. “That is the situation we love best.
– Root record -Root, meanwhile, was left savouring his side’s first win in eight Tests, with a 27th victory in 55 matches as captain breaking the England record held previously by Michael Vaughan.
“I couldn’t be more proud to have gone past Michael but you don’t do that on your own as a captain, it’s down to the group of players and the coaching staff as well,” said Root.
“I’m really proud of the way they have done that this week.”
Root has had to cope with the strain of playing international cricket in biosecure bubbles, with several England players concerned about arrangements for the upcoming Ashes tour of Australia and vice-captain Jos Buttler uncertain if he will be available next week because of the impending birth of his second child.
Root has also been faced with the ongoing absence of star all-rounder Ben Stokes, a close friend, due to mental health issues.
But while accepting he had been through a “very challenging period”, the 30-year-old Root insisted he had “not put a “time limit” on his term as England captain.
Robinson’s emergence, however, has been a plus, even if his now four-Test career was derailed on debut against New Zealand at Lord’s in June by the republication of historic racist and sexist tweets.
The 27-year-old seamer ended any slim hopes India had of joining the list of ‘miracle’ wins at Headingley with a fine spell of 4-25 in eight overs on Saturday that accounted for Pujara, Kohli, Rishabh Pant and Ishant Sharma.
Robinson was roared on by a crowd of more than 16,000, having been sacked as a young professional by Yorkshire for breaches of team discipline.
“It’s one of the great days in my cricket career,” he said. “It was an amazing feeling, the crowd here were unbelievable.
“The noise when we got Kohli out was deafening, it was just an unbelievable experience and feeling to get that wicket.”
© Agence France-Presse