Whatever Virat Kohli touched on final day of Oval Test turned to gold, says Nasser Hussain

09/07/2021

London, Sept. 7: Former England cricketer Nasser Hussain gave a huge compliment to Virat Kohli, whose team pulled off a sensational 157-run win against England in the fourth Test at The Oval, saying that the Indian skipper had his Midas Test and everything "Virat touched turned to gold on the decisive final day".

India pulled off the fourth-Test win against the hosts on Monday evening - only their second-ever at The Oval and first at the venue after 1971 - to take an unassailable 2-1 lead in the five-match series. This is also only the second time in history - after 1986 - that India have won two Tests on one tour of England. They had beaten England by 151 runs in the second Test at Lord's last month.

"I said at the start of the fifth day that it was going to be a big test of Virat Kohli's captaincy - and he passed that test with flying colours. That Oval pitch offered very little for the seamers, and only a bit of rough for Ravindra Jadeja's left-arm spin. But somehow he (Kohli) manufactured 10 English wickets on the last day," Hussain said in his column for the Daily Mail on Tuesday.

The victory was through a remarkable turnaround for India as they had been bowled out for 191 in the first innings. But they managed to restrict England's first-innings lead to just 99 runs on a placid wicket. Kohli's men then ensured better batting in second innings. The top three batsmen shone and India, with contribution from middle and lower order took the total to 466 and set England a target of 368 to win.

The former England skipper said that on Monday, every tweak and every bowling change which the Indian skipper effected went in his team's favour.

"Every bowling change worked, and so did every tweak to the field. And when he (Kohli) took the second new ball after tea, it produced a wicket straightaway, with Umesh Yadav getting Craig Overton. One way or another, this was Kohli's Midas Test - everything he touched turned to gold, and India are now one game away from a famous series victory, not long after beating Australia in their own backyard."

Hussain said that India hardly ever missed Ravichandran Ashwin. "Even the non-selection of Ravichandran Ashwin, the top-ranked spinner in Test cricket, became irrelevant. People said India would miss him. Kohli said: 'No, we won't. I'm backing our seamers to do the job.' And he was right. Jimmy Anderson had told me that there was nothing in the pitch for the seamers on the fourth day, and no lateral movement whatsoever, so what did Jasprit Bumrah do?" asked Hussain.

The former England player said that the Indian pacer altered his tactics and started bowling bouncers and yorkers to unnerve the England bastmen. "He took the pitch out of the equation by bowling bouncers and yorkers. That was a brilliant spell between lunch and tea, when he got rid of Ollie Pope and Jonny Bairstow, and it decided the Test match. Crucially, India got it reversing, and when you have bowlers such as Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj and even Shardul Thakur in your attack, that is going to be a handful for anyone." -IANS

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