St. Lucia, Aug 14 (IANS) India’s Test skipper Virat Kohli heaped praise on Bhuvneshwar Kumar, saying that the seam bowler’s impressive five-wicket haul in the first innings changed things around for the visitors against the West Indies in the third Test match.
India scored a dramatic 237-run win in the third Test and took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series against the West Indies at the Darren Sammy National Cricket stadium here on Saturday.
Chasing an imposing 346-run target on the fifth and final day of the match, the West Indies were bundled out for 108 in 47.3 overs during the post-lunch session.
India had won first Test by an innings and 92 runs at Antigua and the West Indies drew the second Test at Kingston in Jamaica.
The fourth Test will be played at Port of Spain from August 18-22.
“Bhuvneshwar Kumar was amazing in the afternoon, and picking up five wickets for 28 runs on that pitch in 24 overs was a great spell. That really changed things around for us. Not to forget the first innings, where the way Wriddhiman Saha and R. Ashwin batted was really top class Test cricket as well,” Kohli told reporters after the win.
“The team is feeling really good, especially because we didn’t have a day of play in Jamaica and fifth day was really testing for us. We didn’t get the result we wanted. Here also we played two good days of Test cricket, then lost day 3, but again on day 4 bowlers came back and executed what we wanted to.”
“So the team is really happy that we could execute our plans and wrap up the series here. Now we can play with more positive intent in Trinidad and express ourselves fully and understand the areas we still need to improve on,” he added.
Darren Bravo was the only batsman in the West Indies’ second innings who put up some resistance with a fighting 59. But he quickly ran out partners and was eventually dismissed by Indian pacer Mohammed Shami which left the West Indies struggling at 95/8.
Mohammad Shami was the pick of the Indian bowlers with three wickets in the second innings, while Ishant Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja shared two each. Bhuveneshwar and Ravichandran Ashwhin bagged one wicket each.
“In bowling we replaced Umesh Yadav with Bhuvi because we felt that since the ground is so good it would be easier to maintain the shine on the ball. The pitch was also hard so there was carry. Bhuvi gave us the results, gave us breakthroughs with the second new ball,” the Delhi-born said.
“If you make three changes you might feel that it might to be too strong a reaction. But we realised that if we have to seal the series here then we had to make changes according to the conditions,” the skipper added.
Wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha and Ashwin struck centuries each to rescue India after an early batting collapse and Kohli credited the duo and termed the 200-plus run partnership as the best in the series.
“You are in a positive frame of mind. If you are sceptical, if you are hesitant you will not get the result. I think everyone was hungry to change things around after Jamaica because we understood that we have the momentum, we are playing good cricket, and we are on top in ever Test match so we need to finish things off,” the 27-year-old said.
“I am really glad people stepped up at the right time and did the job for us. Even Saha and Ashwin in the first innings, and that was probably the most important partnership in the series. We had quite a few but that for me stands out till now in terms of where the series has gone.”
“We have been able to seal the game because of the effort of those two. If we lost two more wickets you never know we wouldn’t have been on top in the Test match. Lot of credit goes to those two as well,” Kohli signed off.