Virat Kohli’s decision to start bowling with Ishant backfires

Leeds: Indian bowling attack, hailed as one of the best in world after victory in the second Test at Lord’s, came a cropper on the first two days after the batting had collapsed for 78 on the first day of the third Test. The four-pronged pace attack found little help from the pitch but more importantly paid the price for some poor decision-making from skipper Virat Kohli.

For the second consecutive day, Kohli opened the bowling with Ishant Sharma.

The lanky pace bowler, who impressed in the first Test with the way he made back-to-back breakthroughs in both the innings, has the ability to strike with deliveries that come sharply into the right-handed batsmen and away from the left-handed batsmen.

Notwithstanding his genius with the old ball, to start the second day on Thursday with him instead of Jasprit Bumrah defied logic.

On Wednesday, Kohli had asked Ishant Sharma to open the bowling with Bumrah and kept the latter’s new ball partner Mohammed Shami for later.

Against a pair that was opening for England for the first time, Kohli could have thrown his best opening bowlers, those that have more chances of finding edges.

The 32-year-old pacer Sharma, who is playing his 103rd Test and has taken 311 Test wickets, was picked ahead of off-spinner R Ashwin for the second Test and was persisted with for the third Test as India did not want to change the winning combination.

Former India batsman Ajay Jadeja, who has also led the country at the international level, said that Kohli should persist with younger bowlers more as England built on the lead.

“I don’t think he should persist with a 100-Test old bowler from now (after tea). He should bowl with youngster Siraj and left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja,” said Jadeja.

Kohli did start with the left-arm spinner and Siraj but soon after brought in Ishant in place of Siraj. To be fair to Ishant, runs did not stop even if he didn’t bowl.

But if he weren’t made to bowl first up, the story may have been different.


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