India’s wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant has backed Virat Kohli’s decision to bat first after winning the toss in Leeds, Headingley.
Kohli decided to bat first in slightly overcast conditions but the decision backfired as India’s batting unit crumbled like a pack of cards.
James Anderson bowled at the top of his game as he removed the in-form KL Rahul on the fifth ball of the innings. Subsequently, Anderson dismissed out-of-form Cheteshwar Pujara, who was poking at the outside off-stump delivery. Anderson then got the big wicket of Virat Kohli as he produced the outside edge, which was easily taken by Jos Buttler.
On the other hand, Joe Root was happy to lose the toss as he wanted to field first. India lost four wickets in the opening session and they went on to lose the remaining six in the second session. In fact, India lost four wickets on the score of 67 runs and Craig Overton and Sam Curran, both had hat-trick chances in consecutive overs.
The visitors were bundled out for a meagre score of 78 runs as none of the batsmen were able to show the stomach for the fight. The England fast bowlers were right on the money whereas the Indian batsmen didn’t have the greatest of shot selection as they huffed and puffed at the crease.
“Whatever decision we take, we take as a team,” Pant said. “So once we have decided we are going to bat first, we are going to back our decision. Yes we could have applied much better but we can’t keep on thinking too much about the toss.
“It’s part and parcel of the game. Everyday the batting unit is giving its 100% but sometimes it doesn’t go well. In the morning, the wicket was slightly on the softer side and they bowled in good areas. We could have applied ourselves better. We can learn from it and only move on. That’s all we can do as cricketers. You learn from your mistakes and improve.”
On the other hand, England openers – Haseeb Hameed and Rory Burns – added 120 runs for the opening alliance before the stumps. In fact, the conditions also eased out for the England openers as the sun was out. Furthermore, the Indian bowlers were off the mark as they failed to pitch the ball in the right areas.
They took the heavy roller, the wicket was much more settled down, and they batted nicely also,” he said. “But when we batted, the wicket was slightly soft, and they bowled in good areas, but we could have applied [ourselves] much better…”