India were left struggling in chase of 445 after England reduced them to 112/4 on Wednesday, but star batsman Virat Kohli called on his side to show character and determination to stall the hosts on what is likely to be a riveting day of Test cricket. (Day 4 Report | Day 4 Highlights)
India are staring at a further 333 to notch up an improbable victory against England on the final day of the third Test. However, it is most likely that they would look to settle for a draw, but that would not be easy either against James Anderson and Stuart Broad. With six wickets left, the last-day surface will also cause serious troubles for MS Dhoni's men and with Moeen Ali already making a mark once again, taking 2/33 so far in the second innings, the challenge is enormous. (Can't See India Saving This Test: Gavaskar)
India lost the wickets of Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Shikhar Dhawan besides Kohli. Three of those wickets fell to part-time spinners, while one was run out.
The gritty Kohli, who continued to have a poor series, after falling to Ali for 28 in the dying stages of the penultimate day, hoped his teammates would show some character and stand up on the final day.
"We need to show character. Thursday will be an important day for us. If you want to win a series in England, then there will be tough times like tomorrow. When things get difficult, you need to stand up for the team," Kohli said at the end of the day's play.
"The pitch is going to turn. Thankfully, they don't have a left-arm spinner like we do, but they have Moeen Ali, who has bowled well.Â The final day will define the team's character and the way the series is headed."
Kohli was dismissed by an off-spinner for the 11th time in his 27-Test career and he reiterated that India also needed some luck going their way if they want to leave Southampton with their lead in the series intact. The vice-captain chose to highlight his own dismissal as an example.
"I have made a couple of mistakes in this series but you can't bat perfectly for 150 balls in a Test match against a quality side. A couple of mistakes, a few good balls and the first one you miss is an edge. You need some luck to go your way. I was in my zone, hitting the ball well, but I needed some luck to stay on."
Kohli, who has been one of the most consistent batsmen for India, home and away over the last two years, said the team would have to realize that there would be freak dismissals but also stressed that the players needed to take those in their stride.
The Delhi batsman conceded England have played better in most sessions and deserved to be in the position they find themselves in. How India play on the final day at the Rose Bowl, could indeed shape the future of this young side.