Former England captains worry dropped catches could have set the tone for Virat Kohli’s Test spree

Two former England Test captains have highlighted how giving India skipper Virat Kohli reprieves during an enthralling second day’s play at Edgbaston could potentially prove decisive as the best-of-five Test series progress.

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Kohli was given lives on 21 and 51, both times by Dawid Malan in the slip cordon, and was last out for 149, with India’s total ending at 274 which was just 13 runs short of England’s first innings. By stumps, England had a lead of 22 but had lost Alastair Cook for 0, bowled for the second time in the Test by the offspinner R Ashwin.

READ: Battle Royale – Virat Kohli wins round one over James Anderson

Reflecting on Malan’s grassed chances, Michael Vaughan felt they could had a serious impact on how the series progressed.

“It was easy as they come at second slip. Whatever happens in this game they’ve allowed Virat Kohli to go on and get 149. He’s got 15 more in this innings than he got throughout the whole tour last time he was here in 2014,” he said on BBC’s Test Match Special.  “It’s a five-match series and Virat has got off to a flyer with 149 and great players once they get into rhythm, once they get into form and once they get into confidence, they are very difficult to stop.”

Speaking on Sky Sport’s Cricket Podcast, Bob Willis echoed Vaughan’s concerns. “The scene was set, it was Anderson versus Kohli and it would have been Anderson’s day had Dawid Malan held onto that catch in the slips when Kohli was on 21. It went down and he put all of 2014 behind him,” he said.

“That century will have given Kohli so much confidence, not just for the rest of this match but for the rest of the series.”

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Remarkably, Kohli added 92 runs with India’s tail order, each of which combined for a total of eight runs. This saw India move from 182/8 to an eventual 274 when Kohli was last out for 149. In one innings, the India captain scored more than he managed in ten innings during the 2014 Test series in England.

“Great players love the stage and he went out there today, the crowd booed him,” Vaughan said. “He’s great because he looks around goes ‘alright then, you boo me I’ll hang around and make your team spend a bit more time in the field.’”

Jonathan Trott, the retired England batsman, singled out Kohli’s arrogance as central to his batting.

“Straight away he comes into the game and he’s the focal point of the Indian side. He leads with that exuberance,” he said on Sky Sports.  “You can see that he’s going to play well when he’s got that sort of intent, he’s got that arrogance about him because he knows he’s a little bit if not a lot better than his teammates or anybody else in the world at the moment when he’s in this form.”