Our players showed character: Kohli

By NT Bureau Published on Jul 09, 2018 03:50 PM IST

Bristol: Rohit Sharma's elegant unbeaten century made it a walk in the park for India as they cruised to a seven-wicket victory against England to clinch the three-match T20 International series 2-1 here.

The Indian vice-captain made a target of 199 look ridiculously easy on a small Bristol ground after the visiting bowlers did a commendable job at the back end to restrict the hosts to a sub-par score. India thus clinched their sixth consecutive T20I series win, which is part of an unbeaten run stretching back to September 2017. The series win also set the right tone for the gruelling challenges ahead with the three-match ODI series, up next, starting from 12 July. After the win, Indian captain Virat Kohli praised his team-mates for showing character in tight situations.

Kohli lauded the effort of his bowlers to come back at the back end and restrict England to a sub-par score while praising Hardik Pandya

and centurion Rohit Sharma for their efforts with the bat. 'The comeback from the bowlers was outstanding. At one stage we thought they'd end up getting 225-230. But the character they showed, that's something we're very proud of. Just hit our areas better I guess,' Kohli said at the post match presentation ceremony.

"We have the qualities to bowl wicket-taking deliveries as well. 25-30 runs in this format can be massive," he added.

Talking about the run chase, Kohli said, "(Hardik) Pandya is a really good all-round cricketer. He's confident with his skills with bat and ball. The way he came back after his first over is what you want to see as a captain. It was difficult for the bowlers."

"We enjoyed ourselves as batsmen. I don't like to look at hindsight and say we could have added another bowler. Guys came up with the good. We're gonna continue and try different things. You saw the kind of energy and attitude we had on the field. It's a great way to start the tour."

Man of the match and series, Rohit Sharma said he assessed the conditions first before going for the big strokes. "That's the style of my play. Assessing conditions was important at the start of the innings. Once we see off the new ball, we always knew wicket was a good one with short boundaries. Held my shape well. I like to be calm, not to panic too much," he said.

"I know once you're there, you can make it up later. Always important to try and assess the bowlers as well. With four fielders inside, there's always that option to take chances," said Rohit who hit 100 not out off 56 balls.

About Pandya, he said, "Pandya has done that for few years now. More often than not he will play such innings in the back end. The way he

bowled gave him confidence. He's a fearless individual. That's what the team wants him to do."

England captain Eoin Morgan said his team faltered in execution. 'It was a tremendous start with the bat. Roy and Buttler prove a dominant force at the top but we didn't do their platform justice. Normally it's one of the best parts of our game. On a small ground on a flat wicket we're expected to score more than that. Difficult to defend on grounds like this. It's more the conditions,' he said.

'This series has had three different tests for us. It's exciting.  Trent Bridge has been a good ground for us. The last couple of times we've lost the toss there, we've been able to get a result.' he said.

Highest targets chased down by India (T20Is)
207 vs SL, Mohali, 2009

202 vs Aus, Rajkot, 2013

199 vs Eng, Bristol, 2018 *

Most T20I hundreds
3 C Munro/ ROHIT SHARMA

2 B McCullum/ C Gayle/ E Lewis/ M Guptill/ G Maxwell/ A Finch/ KL Rahul

Most consecutive T20I series wins:

9 by Pakistan (Sep 2016 - ongoing) *

6 by India (Nov 2017 - ongoing) *

5 by Windies (Jun 2012 - Mar 2013)

Dhoni's new feat
Mahendra Singh Dhoni completed a coveted double in T20 internationals, becoming the first cricketer to take five catches in a match and also reach 50 scalps in the shortest format. The 37-year-old Dhoni achieved this feat in his 93rd T20 International. His tally of catches has risen up to 54. He first completed a half-century of caught behind when he snapped Jason Roy off debutant Deepak Chahar's bowling.

He then played his part in the dismissals of Alex Hales, Eoin Morgan, Jonny Bairstow and Liam Plunkett.