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India vs England 2014, 3rd Test at Southampton: Virat Kohli’s opportunity to find form

Virat Kohli has only scored 34 runs in the first two Tests © Getty Images
Virat Kohli has only scored 34 runs in the first two Tests © Getty Images

After failing in four innings in a row in England, Virat Kohli will be under pressure to perform in the third Test at Southampton. The flat nature of the pitch and the 569-run challenge set by England could be the perfect opportunity for Kohli to show his class. Shiamak Unwalla has more.

Virat Kohli has scored 34 runs from four innings this series, 25 of which came in the first innings at Lord’s. He has not crossed to double figures in any of his other three innings, and was out for a golden duck in the second innings at Lord’s. For anyone who has been following the career of Kohli for the last few years, this prolonged run of poor form would seem shocking.

However, on careful viewing of his dismissals, it seems that he is actually not in bad form; he has just been horribly unlucky. Kohli was caught in the slips off Stuart Broad to a quick delivery that straightened after pitching — on a deck that otherwise did almost nothing — in the first innings at Trent Bridge. In the second innings of that same match, he was out leg-before to one from Broad that did just enough to beat his attempted flick. At Lord’s, he was caught behind off a peach from James Anderson after looking extremely confident in the first essay. An error in judgement in the second innings meant that he shouldered arms to a short ball from Liam Plunkett, only to have it crash into the stumps.

Alastair Cook was dropped on 15. He made 95. Ian Bell ought to have been out leg-before very early in his innings. He was reprieved, and went on to score 167. Jos Buttler was dropped when on naught, and survived a stumping before he got to 50. He hammered 85. England’s score of 569 for seven might have looked very, very different had those batsmen been dismissed.

Virat Kohli is not in poor form. He needs one substantial innings before the floodgates open. He will be batting on a flat deck against bowlers who might not get too much of movement off the pitch. Additionally, the challenge of chasing down England’s colossal score will be an added boost to him. Kohli has shown in the past that he does well under pressure.

This is the perfect opportunity for Kohli to bring out the latent run-scoring beast within him. If he does manage to score some runs in this Test — and there are chances of that happening — it could well be the start of a string of big scores. With India already 1-0 up in the series, a run-scoring Kohli will only add to England’s woes.

Complete coverage of India’s tour of England 2014

(Shiamak Unwalla is a reporter with Cricket Country. He is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and Cricket fanatic who likes to pass his free time by reading books, watching TV shows, and eating food. Sometimes all at the same time. You can follow him on twitter at @ShiamakUnwalla)

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