Virat Kohli was a disappointing captain as India suffered a humiliating 8-wicket defeat at the hands of England in the series-decider ODI at Headingley, Leeds on Tuesday (July 17).
The Men in Blue were outplayed in all three departments and with less than 12 months to go for the World Cup. Post the humiliating defeat, skipper Virat Kohli has stated that the team needs to find the right balance before the showpiece event.
"We need to have a good balance in the side, and we need to get our act right before the World Cup. We can't rely on one skill, and we need to do well in all departments," Kohli quoted at the post-match presentation ceremony.
He also admitted that India were simply not good enough in the third ODI and the hosts thoroughly deserved to win.
"We were never up to the mark as far as runs were concerned. We had 25-30 runs too little. England were clinical in all departments and thoroughly deserved to win. We need to be at our best against a team like England. The pitch was slow throughout the day which was surprising, not damp, just slow. Against the new ball it was two-paced but slow with the spinners. Haven't seen pitches like that here before. The bowlers did well, especially their spinners who didn't get greedy and contained the runs before getting wickets eventually," he added.
Virat came out to bat at his usual No. 3 position at Headingley and forged a sparkling 71-run partnership with Shikhar Dhawan for the second wicket. He followed it up with a 41-run stand with Dinesh Karthik for the third wicket and in the process completed his 48th half-century in ODI cricket off 55 deliveries. Kohli was looking all set for his 36th one-day ton before leg-spinner Adil Rashid bamboozled him with a beauty.
"I've been playing against Rashid since U-19 and it was a terrific ball, so it's just one of those balls that you have to take in your stride and say "Wow". I'm surprised that his turn has reduced over the years, but this one was an amazing ball," he remarked.
KL Rahul, Umesh Yadav and Siddharth Kaul made way for Dinesh Karthik, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shardul Thakur in the playing XI for the all-important clash. Kohli defended the changes, saying it looked bad because of the outcome.
"We thought Dinesh did well, but he couldn't convert his start, so I don't regret the batting order changes. Shardul was meant to get some exposure, and Bhuvi needed to make a comeback. When the changes don't come off, they look unnecessary so it must be taken in our stride," the Indian captain concluded.
On the other hand, England skipper Eoin Morgan hailed his team’s all-round performance and had a special praise reserved for his bowlers.
"The tone was set by the bowlers. Wood and Willey were on the money, had their lines and lengths down. The ball swung a little for 4-5 overs. We took our opportunities well whenever we got the chance. We know the conditions here well, and we are happy we took advantage of that. I didn't think it would be a belter, probably a 300-320 ground, but our spinners today were brilliant,” Morgan stated.
"The chase was started by the two openers, and then Joe and I carried on. It's the guys on my right, my team, that make my decision look good. You're only as good as your team. Our guys were brilliant," he explained.
Morgan also praised his team for their fight back after losing the first ODI at Trent Bridge.
"In Trent Bridge we were off, and India punished us, and since then we have done well, and grown as much as we could. It's satisfying that we learnt over the series, made plans, and executed what we said we'd do. So that builds confidence in the team. We need to be at our best before the World Cup, and remove any glitches from our game," he concluded.
Joe Root was deservedly adjudged Man of the Series for his two hundred in three ODIs. He remained unbeaten on 100 as England chased down India’s target of 257 with 33 balls to spare at Headingley.
"It's about putting faith in your game and backing your ability, so I'm happy I have done well in the last two games and I'll take the confidence into the Tests. We've done well here over the last few years. The pressure of this being a must-win game was important and I am happy I contributed," Root said in the post-match presentation.