Virat Kohli, the Indian team skipper, during the pre-match press conference has urged his batsmen to up the ante and back the bowlers', during the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. Most of the Indian batsmen have failed to put up respectable scores during the first two Tests with Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli being the only major contributors. The bowlers, on the contrary, have been on top of their game. "It is very important for batsmen to stand up, because as everyone can see, our bowling has been performing really well. Otherwise, the bowlers won't be able to do anything with the totals that we have been compiling," skipper Kohli said on the eve of the third Test.
"If we are batting second, we will try to take the lead or get as close to the opposition total as possible. If you equal a big score, then it becomes a second-innings' match and if you take a good first-innings lead, then you can capitalize on that," the 30-year-old added.
Pointing on the collective failure by the Indian batsmen, Kohli said,
"The batsmen must step up collectively. I won't say individually whether someone needs to do that or not, but as a batting unit, we have to definitely put up a better performance," Kohli sent out a loud and clear message for his batting unit".
Kohli wasn't interested to dig in further on what has happened so far in the Test series. He looked rather focused on the moment.
"As a team, I don't think whether you are 2-0 up or 2-0 down or 1-1, what's happened in the past has no significance at all to what's going to happen in the next two Tests or what's going to happen in the next Test which is quite immediate.
"The key is to stay in the moment, stay in the present, understand and remember why you won the first Test, which was because of us being in the present moment," the skipper analysed.
Overall, Nathan Lyon with 16 wickets so far has been the leading wicket-taker in the series and has been the headache for India's batsmen.
Kohli praised the Aussie off-spinner for his match-winning efforts.
"Lyon is a very good bowler. He consistently bowls in good areas. So we have to have our plans against such a bowler so that we can also explore scoring options because if he is allowed to bowl at one spot for a long time, he becomes even more dangerous.
"These things you need to figure out constantly - who is bowling well in a particular series and what your plans should be against him. He has definitely bowled very well from the opposition."
Kohli insisted that the team is taking it as a challenge and further praised Lyon for bowling so well in Australia where conditions are not always spinner-friendly.
"For a spinner to bowl so well in Australia is a huge thing. We are taking it as a challenge, and we definitely want to improve our play against him. We have put in the effort in practice, it now matters who we execute those on the field.
"As I said, if there is a challenge coming your way, you try and counter it. That's our effort - if we have been dismissed in a particular way, not repeat that mode of dismissal. As cricketers, that is all you can do," he added.
Kohli, however said he is excited and looking forward to playing his second Boxing Day Test Down Under.
(With IANS inputs)