India ready to play day/night Test anywhere in Australia, asserts Kohli

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13 Jan 2020 | 11:21 AM
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India ready to play day/night Test anywhere in Australia, asserts Kohli

Australia want to play two Tests of the four-match series under lights when India tour next summer

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Months after Tim Paine's cheeky dig at him, India captain Virat Kohli asserted that they are ready to play the day/night Test at any venue in Australia later this year.

Kohli was asked about it on the eve of the three-match ODI series opener against Australia.

"We're ready and up for the challenge - whether it's Gabba, Perth... it doesn't matter to us. It's become a very exciting feature of any Test series and we're open to playing day-night Tests," Kohli said.

India played their maiden day/night Test against Bangladesh last November, winning the match with plenty of time to spare at the Eden Gardens.

"We played the day-night Test here, we were pretty happy with how it went. We have the skill-sets as a team now to compete against anyone in the world, anywhere, in any format of the game, whether it's white ball, red ball or pink ball, we're ready to play anything," Kohli asserted.

Last year, when asked about it, Paine had sarcastically remarked that his Australian team would need to ask Kohli if he was willing to play day/night Test Down Under.

"We'll certainly try and we'll have to run that by Virat (Kohli). We'll get an answer from him at some stage I'm sure. As I said we'll ask Virat and see if we can get his permission to play here and maybe even get a Pink-ball Test if he's in a good mood. Paine had said.

Australia want to play two Tests of the four-match series under lights when India tour next summer. The hosts want to start the series at the Gabba in Brisbane, where they have not lost a Test for a long time.

"India-Australia, it's not a totally new thing that we're going to experience (for) either side. The teams know each other so well, we played each other so much, and the competition has always been good. Having won last year, that gives us a lot more confidence going back," said Kohli.

With David Warner and Steve Smith back, the India skipper acknowledged that the upcoming tour will be a different ballgame and took note of Marnus Labuschagne's meteoric rise.

"This time around the series is going to be different, in terms of their batting challenging our bowlers. To be fair, last time around, the players were not that experienced.

"If you take out David (Warner) and Steve (Smith), Marnus (Labuschagne) came in but he played only one game. The way he's shaped up in last summer, it's amazing - so much consistency it always good to watch at the international level - and the hunger and the passion, you can see in his game," he added.

Kohli also admitted that it would be a challenge for his bowlers to break through the Australian batting order next summer.

"It'll be a challenge for us to break through that batting order but it's a challenge we should look forward to. We should not look forward to easy games and going to Australia, you should not expect anything easy.

"So, as I said, we want to keep challenging ourselves as a team and we're the top two sides in the table as well, in the world championship.

"I'm sure it's going to be amazing for people to watch because the series will be right up there with any of the best series we've seen in the past five-six years. We're pretty excited for it," said Kohli.

Bumrah doesn't shy away from hitting us on head, ribs in nets: Kohli

Jasprit Bumrah doesn't shy away from targeting the batsmen's head or ribs in the nets, Kohli says about his lead pacer, whose intensity knows no bounds even at practice sessions.

"According to me he's (Bumrah) the most skilful bowler in the world in any format of the game. To play against him, he brings match intensity in the nets. He's not shy of hitting us on the head or targeting our ribs every now and then," Kohli said.

One of the world's best batsmen, Kohli shared the experience of facing the top bowler in the nets.

"He's a proper, proper bowler and it's always nice to play against the best in the nets. I challenge myself to play well against him, not every day do you get to hit boundaries off Jasprit in the nets," Kohli said.

On the eve of the first match at the Wankhede Stadium, Kohli and Bumrah were locked in a keen tussle at the nets.

"Bumrah has been playing for the team for last four years and this is probably the second time I have ever got out (in) the net, hitting a few against him and not getting out.

"One was Adelaide before the Test in 2018 and one was today. I'm glad that was the last ball of my net session, because he ran back to his mark, but I got out of the nets," said Kohli.

Kohli also said it will be a challenge for the Indian middle-order to face Australia's pace spearhead Mitchell Starc and his colleagues.

"It is going to be a great challenge for them to face someone like Mitchell. He is a very skilful bowler. Looks like he's back to swinging the ball like he used to, and that makes him a lethal bowler again," said Kohli.

"Anyone who has pace, once they find their length they can adjust anywhere, so pace is always going to be an advantage."

Saying that Adam Zampa played a key role in Australia's 3-2 win in India last year, Kohli feels the leg-spinner had more belief than other bowlers.

"His mindset was a standout for them in the last series. And he made those important breakthroughs in the games that they won after having lost (the first) two.

"So, we have to be at our best game against them in the middle-overs and not think too much about what he's going to do."

He rated the Wankhede track as "probably the best pitch to bat in India" and "probably along with Adelaide - the best batting wicket I've played on".

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Virat KohliJasprit Jasbirsingh BumrahIndiaAustralia

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