Virat Kohli is dismissed for three in the second innings as India slide towards defeat on the fourth day of the first Test against Sri Lanka at the Galle International Stadium.

Sa’adi Thawfeeq reporting from Galle

GALLE: Indian captain Virat Kohli accepted the fact that his team’s tentativeness and the fearless cricket played by Sri Lanka led to their 63-run defeat in the first Test at the Galle International Stadium.

“It was a classic case of people going out there and being fearless and our display was a classic case of people going out there and being tentative,” said Kohli summing up his team’s defeat at the post-match press conference.

“That was the major difference us losing the game because we only had, apart from the way we batted today, an hour and a half which was bad in the game for us yesterday. Throughout the game, we dominated and it feels strange to be on the losing side but that is sadly or unfortunately Test cricket. You play one bad session and then you could be lacking behind in the race.

“I don’t think the wicket had too many demons or something that we had to face where people are getting hit in the chest or the gloves. It was a case of us not playing fearless cricket and we not going out there and being positive. We were tentative and that’s why we ended up being exposed,” he said.

Explaining further Kholi said, “We have had batting collapses in the past as well where we have lost wickets in bunches. If we sit down and analyse it’s been because we have ended up being too tentative. Whenever we have played positive cricket, taken more risks than the situation demands, we have often been on the right side of a particular situation.

“Today was a classic example of the guys not backing themselves enough to express their ability out there. That can happen in Test cricket when a world class spinner like Rangana (Heratn) is bowling attacking lines. You have to do
something to disrupt the bowler’s length. You have to make some sort of plan to get on top of the bowler. We let the opposition in today. That’s why we are suffering now.”

Kohli admitted that his batters were not smart enough to counter the Lankan spinners Herath and Tharindu Kaushal.

“We did not counter what was being thrown at us. We should have been smarter with the way we wanted to go about playing against the spinners. In the end you saw (Amit) Mishra using his feet quite a bit. Ashwin did that but the other batsmen failed to learn from what should have been done on that sort of wicket,” said Kohli.

“The need of the hour in the second innings was to take calculated risks when you are chasing a small total in the fourth innings. The intent has to be there which was lacking and it is something we need to improve on definitely. It is an area for improvement, something that should be a lesson for the batsmen today.

“I know everyone is very disappointed with the way we performed with the bat because that has been our strength in the past few months. We have been let down by our batting today. There are no excuses. There is a lot to learn from today and I am certain the guys will want to improve on a couple of aspects as far as facing spin is concerned.”

The Indians seemed to have the Test under their control until the arrival of Dinesh Chandimal who took it away from them with an astounding knock of 162 not out.

“Anyone in a Test can play such an innings in a situation where you have nothing to lose. All credit to him. It was a
very good innings. Not taking anything away from the knock that he played,” said Kohli.

“But, I am not shocked. We all know that he is very talented and when he came into the scene, he performed really well for Sri Lanka. He probably had a lean phase in between and he has performed again. He is playing as a keeper-batsman for them in Test matches which I think is a great thing for him.

“He is player whom everybody thought is going to make it big and he is doing justice to his talent. I am not surprised. I have played against him in under-19 cricket as well. He is a quality player and he has the ability to play like that.”

Talking of the way Chandimal flayed the Indian bowling Kohli said, “When you are bowling and people are hitting like that against the spin or reverse sweeping and connecting everything, there is only so much you can do. The bowlers kept bowling attacking lines and you have to keep going for wickets because you have a lead. To give those easy singles takes the pressure off the batsmen. The idea was to do that. The opposition did really well to counter that situation by playing fearless cricket. They literally had a situation where they had nothing to lose, a deficit of 110 with five wickets to go.”