February 25, 2017 / 1:14 PM / 9 months ago

Batsmen lacked application, says India captain Kohli

PUNE, India (Reuters) - India’s abject first-innings batting against Australia cost them the opening test in the four-match series, home captain Virat Kohli said after his side’s 333-run defeat on Saturday.

Cricket - India team news conference - Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune, India - 22/02/17. India's captain Virat Kohli speaks during a news conference. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Files

“I think the way we batted in the first innings, I think we put ourselves under a lot of pressure to be honest,” Kohli told reporters.

World number one side India were previously unbeaten in 19 tests and few would have fancied a win for Australia, who had lost their last nine tests in Asia.

The hosts’ batsmen capitulated twice in the match, however, getting shot out for 105 in the first innings and 107 in the second.

“Conceding a 160-run lead on that kind of wicket is criminal actually,” Kohli said.

“If we were close enough to their first innings total, the bowlers’ mindset would be different in the second innings.”

India conceded a lead of 155 against Australia, who made 260 in their first innings after captain Steve Smith won the toss and opted to bat.

It meant the hosts were always playing catch-up in the game and Kohli said it was very difficult to pull things back.

India’s batsmen appeared clueless against the left-arm spin of Steve O‘Keefe, who picked up six wickets for 35 in each innings.

Kohli refused to blame the spin-friendly wicket and said it was application which was missing from his batsmen.

“I would say our application in this game was very bad. We couldn’t build any partnerships, I think that was our worst point,” said the 28-year-old.

“That’s one area which we worked on in the past few months with pride and executed it as well.”

Kohli urged his team mates to remain calm.

”It’s fine. It’s just another international game, it’s no big deal,“ Kohli said when asked about the mood in the Indian dressing room. ”We take failures and losses as an opportunity to learn.

”I wouldn’t think too much about this test. If after 18 or 19 tests, we play one bad game, you have to accept that it’s a part of international cricket.

“I don’t know if people were thinking that we couldn’t lose at all but in our mind there was no such thing. If we don’t play good cricket, then any team can beat us.”

Editing by Clare Fallon

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