Test match approach in ODI: What advice did Virat Kohli give to KL Rahul?

Test match approach in ODI: What advice did Virat Kohli give to KL Rahul?

India’s KL Rahul and Virat Kohli during the  ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 India v Australia match at MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai, India on October 8, 2023. — Reuters

India on Sunday shifted gear to a Test match approach — thanks to Virat Kohli’s genius — on a tricky track to accomplish a nervy chase in their low-scoring World Cup opener against Australia.

Aussies fell into their own trap after they chose to bat first in Chennai on a ground famous for a spinning pitch.

A day after South Africa overcame Sri Lanka in a 754-run slugfest in New Delhi, bowlers dominated in Chennai where India bundled out Australia for 199 but endured a top-order collapse of their own before prevailing by six wickets.

Chasing 200, three of India’s top four batters fell for a duck for the first time in a one-day international.

KL Rahul, who made 97 not out, and Virat Kohli (85) forged a match-winning partnership of 165 to bail out India who reached the target with 52 balls to spare.

Rahul said the piece of advice he received from senior teammate Kohli was to treat it as a test match for a while to arrest their slide.

“Virat said there’s big help (for bowlers) in the wicket, and (we) just have to play proper shots and play like it’s test cricket for some time and see where it goes,” said the wicketkeeper-batter.

“That was mostly the plan, and happy that we could do the job for the team.”

The small target meant both the batters could take their time to get a hang of the wicket when Australian pacers were breathing fire from both ends.

Kohli was also lucky to get a reprieve on 12 when Mitchell Marsh dropped him in what proved a costly mistake for Australia.

Five-time champions Australia would be particularly upset with their batting as none of their batters managed a fifty.

India picked a three-pronged spin attack, who collectively conceded 104 runs in 30 overs claiming six wickets.

Ravindra Jadeja claimed three of them and the left-arm spinner said he too took a test match approach of maintaining a tight line and length rather than trying something extraordinary.

“This was my plan, that I should bowl at the stumps and luckily the ball to Smith turned a little more,” Jadeja said explaining how he dismissed Australia’s topscorer Steve Smith (46).

“My plan was simple. I was thinking that this is a test match bowling wicket, and I shouldn’t experiment too much because everything was happening in the wicket.

“So I was trying to bowl it stump to stump.”

India faces Afghanistan in their next match in New Delhi on Wednesday.

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