It was a special hundred by Virat Kohli not just because it was a historic milestone but also because the dogged century came in toughest of conditions that did not aid stroke-making, India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja said on Sunday. Jadeja said the Eden Gardens track offered more turn in the afternoon when the South African spinners bowled, compared to the evening when Indian bowlers operated.
India’s forever ‘Most Valuable Player’ (MVP) himself left an impact on the game by scoring an unbeaten 29 not out and taking 5 for 33 but it was the peerless Kohli, who was adjudged the Player of the Match award for his record-equalling unbeaten 101.
“I think this will be very special for Virat himself. It was a very tough pitch and at times, it seemed that even 260-270 looked par,” Jadeja said at post-match conference.
“He rotated the strike and at stage when runs dried up and their spinners were bowling well, to rotate strike and remain not out while taking score beyond 300, it takes effort,” he said.
The pitch, Jadeja believed, became easier for batting later as he tried to put Kohli’s ton in perspective.
“When they bowled, there was more help from the track, there was more turn on offer and wicket didn’t have bounce also. If you ask for my opinion, the pitch became easier for batting in the evening compared to afternoon, may be not easy but okay for batting.
“But in the afternoon, it was a slow turner. You couldn’t hit big shots. Credit how Virat handled their spinners. We always had an idea that Kolkata is a low bounce track that aids spinners. We knew wicket would play slow.” Rohit’s decision to bat first was a calculated one as Indian team wanted to assess how things may pan out if India play their semi-final in Kolkata and need to bowl under lights.
“We wanted to challenge ourselves, had we bowled at afternoon, we wouldn’t have given so many runs. We wanted to see how we could bowl if dew sets in and if knock-outs, if we get such a situation,” Jadeja said.
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