Get a room, Virat Kohli and everyone who’s watching the Test match. None of us are comfortable with this level of public affection.
As we’ve said before, it’s the hero worship of Kohli that’s so objectionable, not the man himself. Still, the one leads to the other, so it’s only natural to wish him ill so that you’re spared the gushing. We don’t like gushing. We’re not Daniel Plainview.
From an England perspective, a couple of rabbit-in-a-hat tricks offset otherwise playground tactics to leave the team pretty much exactly where you’d expect them to be.
Given a brief opportunity to captain, Joe Root brought himself on to bowl and took two quick wickets. Adil Rashid, meanwhile, got the ‘opportunity’ to bowl 30 overs on the bounce – and occasionally, as he tired, the double-bounce.
Neither made much difference. Root’s success was freakish and Rashid’s workload came about because he appeared as likely as anyone to take wickets. He took 2-152. A third spinner could certainly have accounted for some of those runs without necessarily having any impact on the wicket column.
Alastair Cook has, in our view, made little of a mediocre hand. We wouldn’t damn him for that. We know by now that he is not a captain who transcends his team’s apparent limitations. It would be like going to a chain pub for a two-burgers-for-a-fiver offer only to complain about the quality of the beef. Given better ingredients, the Cook is competent. England’s shortcomings aren’t overwhelmingly down to him.
Still, it was good of India to agree to a handicap match in which England batted first on a pitch liable to go all scuffy and exciting. If they can somehow minimise their first innings deficit, they can hopefully set up some sort of awkward chase for their opponents.
‘Awkward’ means ‘small and easy’ but at least we’ll all be able to pretend for a bit.