NO LONGER FRIENDS

Kohli says warm feel­ings for Aus­tralia have evap­o­rated

New Straits Times - - Sport -

DHARAM­SALA in 2015.

But Kohli, who sat out the fi­nal Test with a shoul­der in­jury, said any warm feel­ings he had to­ward Aus­tralia be­fore the Test had evap­o­rated dur­ing the bit­ter con­test that en­sued be­tween the world’s top two sides.

“I thought that was the case, but it has changed for sure. As I said in the heat of the bat­tle, you want to be com­pet­i­tive but yeah I have been proven wrong,” Kohli told a post-match press con­fer­ence.

“The thing I said be­fore the first Test (about be­ing friends), I have cer­tainly been proven wrong, and you won’t hear me say that ever again.”

The 28-year-old skip­per caused a furore in the sec­ond Test af­ter ac­cus­ing his coun­ter­part Steven Smith of re­peat­edly abus­ing the de­ci­sion re­view sys­tem.

But Kohli, who man­aged only 46 runs in the se­ries, said the hard-fought se­ries against Aus­tralia was the most sat­is­fy­ing of In­dia’s re­cent run, that in­cluded vic­to­ries over New Zealand, Eng­land and Bangladesh in an ex­tended home sea­son.

“Un­be­liev­able. This is the best se­ries win so far,” said Kohli, who re­ceived the Test mace on be­half of In­dia for end­ing the sea­son as the world’s top side.

“The way the Aus­tralian team gave us a fight was re­ally amaz­ing, but the way the (In­dia) guys kept bouncing back showed the true char­ac­ter of the side.”

In­dia’s cricket board re­warded their play­ers who fea­tured in all four Tests with a cash bo­nanza of US$77,000 (RM346,000).

Smith mean­while apol­o­gised for let­ting emo­tions get the bet­ter of him. On Mon­day footage in­di­cated he called Mu­rali Vi­jay a “cheat” for wrongly claim­ing a catch.

“I have been pretty in­tense through­out this se­ries. I re­ally wanted to do well for the team. At times I have been in my own bub­ble and have let my emo­tions slip. I apol­o­gise for that,” said Smith.

In the maiden Test played in Dharam­sala, In­dia scored 332 in their first in­nings in re­ply to Aus­tralia’s 300, be­fore the tourists col­lapsed for just 137 on the third day.

On day four, In­dia lost Vi­jay to fast bowler Pat Cum­mins and Chetesh­war Pu­jara to a run out. But these were the only scares for the hosts, who reached their tar­get in less than 24 overs.

The main ar­chi­tect of In­dia’s vic­tory was all-rounder Ravin­dra Jadeja, who was named man of the match and se­ries for his ex­cep­tional per­for­mance.

He top-scored with 63 in the first in­nings be­fore tak­ing three wick­ets with his left-arm spin dur­ing Aus­tralia’s sec­ond knock.

“The way the guys han­dled sit­u­a­tions and the way Ajinkya led was out­stand­ing,” Kohli said.

“But the ma­tu­rity and the re­spon­si­bil­ity shown by all the guys in the team was pleas­ing to see,” he added.

Kohli’s own be­hav­iour was par­o­died in the Aus­tralian me­dia, some of whom dis­parag­ingly com­pared him to US President Don­ald Trump.

The con­test will also be re­mem­bered for the fine form of Aussie cap­tain Smith, who amassed 499 runs with three cen­turies, be­com­ing only the sixth vis­it­ing bats­man to hit as many hun­dreds. AFP

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