England cricket team coach Trevor Bayliss feels Indian skipper Virat Kohli can be put under pressure if the hosts continue to tame the rest of the Indian line-up in the ongoing five-match Test series.
“If Virat Kohli is not the best batsman (in the world), he’s very close to it. The way he played the first and second innings was high-class stuff. If we can put pressure on the other batsmen in the Indian team, that’s going to add to the pressure on him,” Trevor Bayliss told reporters here.
“I don’t think it’s any different for us. We’ve got a few guys who are not necessarily cemented in the team and that put extra pressure on people like Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow,” Bayliss added.
The visitors lost the opening Test match by 31 runs as their ‘strong’ batting line-ups collapsed twice within the span of three days. However, Virat Kohli stood out in the first Test as he scored his maiden century in the first innings and followed it up with a half-century in the second essay.
“In this first Test, the four innings had wickets falling left, right and centre all batsmen were in trouble, even Kohli, who I don’t think was all that comfortable early on. It was difficult to bat, probably more difficult than it looked from outside,” Bayliss said.
England’s coach also said he expected India to learn quickly from their mistakes.
“India are a very good team. We’re very much in the hunt here. When the ball’s moving, we’ve shown that a few of their guys do struggle against the moving ball. I’m sure that they’ll be going away working out how they can play it as we’re going working on how to play the off-spin,” he added.
England pacer Chris Woakes has replaced all-rounder Ben Stokes from the second Test as he would be appearing in Bristol today to answer charges of affray during a pub brawl. However, Bayliss believed the hosts team is well-settled.
“His (Stokes’) preparation and approach was no different to what we’ve seen before. You wouldn’t have known there was anything coming up. He’s been absolutely golden. It will be interesting to see who can step up and take his place,” Bayliss said, adding, “(But) I’ve got no concerns about it. Ben has no concerns about it as well. Obviously it’s something we would have liked to not be happening.”
Speaking about Woakes’ recall, he said, “Chris was fine here. We had him bowling in the nets. One of first practice days here, he bowled 14 overs in the nets. He’s gone back and played a couple of T20 games and back into match mode. Fitness wise he should be fine.”
Youngster Pope’s inclusion in England team means one more left-hander in the hosts line-up for R Ashwin to bowl.
“We’re not going to pick a second-best team because they’re all right-handers. Certainly, with Ashwin bowling so well to all batsmen but obviously to the left-handers, we’ll have to have a bit of a chat and see how we might be able to play him a little different.”
“It would be nice (to get Dukes in all Tests). It gets a bit of sideways movement. I’m a fan of Test cricket and you watch these games and some of these lower scores they do, most of the time, give a good Test match for the fans,” Bayliss added.