Virat Kohli’s vulnerability against the fourth or fifth stump line is a well-known weakness. Bowlers from around the world have targeted the Indian batting maestro with this plan, often finding success. Additionally, Kohli has historically faced challenges when facing left-arm seamers, much like many other Indian top-order batsmen. These factors came into play in India’s first practice match ahead of the West Indies Tests, resulting in Kohli’s dismissal.
The Indian cricket team arrived in the Caribbean islands nine days before the first Test, giving them ample time to simulate match-like scenarios during their practice in Barbados. In the initial match simulation, the top-order batsmen – Rohit Sharma, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane – and frontline bowlers – Jaydev Unadkat, Mohammed Siraj, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja – were split into two teams.
The batsmen came out in pairs, continuing until they were dismissed. After Rohit Sharma and Yashasvi Jaiswal had solid knocks in the first session, Kohli took to the field with Shubman Gill for the post-lunch session. However, Kohli’s time at the crease was cut short as he fell early to Jaydev Unadkat.
Former captain Kohli initially appeared comfortable against Ravindra Jadeja, displaying control even against Unadkat’s deliveries that swung or angled away. He played an exquisite flick shot for a couple of runs off Unadkat. Yet, Kohli stumbled when the experienced left-arm seamer changed his angle and approached from around the wicket.
Unadkat pitched the ball just around the fourth stump, causing it to hold its line. Kohli, caught in two minds about whether to go forward or backward, ended up tentatively pushing at the ball without assertive footwork. The resulting outside edge was comfortably caught by the fielder at second slip.
Virat Kohli, who has faced challenges in Test cricket over the past few years, will be eager to make an impact in the upcoming two Tests against the West Indies starting on July 12. His primary concern will be overcoming deliveries aimed around the off stump.
As for the other Indian batsmen, Rohit Sharma and Yashasvi Jaiswal both scored unbeaten fifties before retiring out. Captain Rohit and young Jaiswal displayed sublime form, batting throughout the first session without being dismissed. Shubman Gill, who typically opens alongside Rohit, entered the crease during the second session.
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With Cheteshwar Pujara absent, it remains to be seen who will bat at No.3. At present, Jaiswal seems to have an edge over Ruturaj Gaikwad, although the possibility of Gill moving down to No.3 cannot be ruled out. Among the bowlers, Ashwin, Jadeja, and Unadkat bowled long spells. Unadkat proved his skill by taking the wickets of Rahane and Kohli. Vice-captain Rahane batted twice and appeared in better touch during his second stint at the crease.