Scoreline doesn’t reflect the competitiveness of series: Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli admitted that the Indian team needs to do some introspection. (Getty Images)

England beat India by 118 runs at The Oval to secure a 4-1 finish but while the margin makes for a comprehensive reading, India captain Virat Kohli feels the series witnessed an intense level of competition between both sides. Chasing 464 to win, England dismissed India for 345 to win the fifth Test by 118 runs with KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant scoring centuries and showing tremendous grit and determination.

“From three wickets down, it takes guts. It might not show in the scoreline but both sides played in great spirit,” said Kohli, who was declared India’s Player of the Series, during the post-match presentation. “That was an example of two guys not giving up and entertaining the crowd. This has been one of the best series I’ve been involved in, and a great advert for Test cricket.

“We didn’t speak about the result, we just wanted to go out and see what happened, waiting and watching, things can change very quickly. That’s the beauty of this format. Take nothing away from those two guys, especially someone like Rishabh who’s come in and shown grit and determination. We certainly have the belief. It was a great preview of what’s in store for him.”

Kohli agreed that the result may have been different had a few things gone their way. India were criticised for dropping Cheteshwar Pujara for the first Test and playing two spinners in overcast conditions at Lord’s. To add to their woes, their catching was far from what one would expect from the No. 1 Test side in the world. On top of that, the batting collapses, that saw India chasing modest totals but buckling under pressure. Kohli admitted that it’s time for some introspection.

“[I] Definitely think we will sit down and think about, if we had taken those opportunities, we missed quite few,” he said. “When both teams are going for wins, you can have a result that looks like that [4-1], they don’t go for draws. They played fearless, you hardly have draws in these tense series and that’s what the scoreline shows. I’m not saying it wasn’t a fair scoreline, because they played better than us, but we can take a lot of heart and apply lessons to how we play Test cricket.”

Kohli and India nominated allrounder Sam Curran as England’s Man of the Series. The 20-year-old, shone with the bat and ball, scoring 272 runs at an average of 38 and picking up 11 wickets with a best of 4/74 in the first Test at Edgbaston. He scored 63 in that match, and followed it with valuable scores of 40, 40, 46 and 78, during which he struck vital lower order partnerships to bail England out of trouble.

“There’s a reason why we voted for Sam as Man of the Series, he attacked with the bat and with the ball, and made important contributions. It takes character for someone to come in and play like that. He put England in front in those important Test matches,” Kohli said, when asked what the difference between the two sides was.