India vs England 1st Test: Kohli’s wicket up there with the best, says Dom Bess

England off-spinner Dom Bess rated the wicket of India skipper Virat Kohli as one of the best of his burgeoning career and said his team is in a ‘great seat’ after day three of the first Test with the pitch expected to spin more. 

Bess impressed in his maiden outing on Indian soil as he got the ball to dip and drift, something that worked for him while outfoxing Kohli (11), who was caught at forward short leg. “It is certainly up there. He (Kohli) is a phenomenal and a high-calibre player. He is world-class and one of the best. It is more about the process. What I am learning and doing is getting me to where I want to be,” Bess told reporters in a virtual interaction after close of play. 

“I am 23 and maybe going to keep going. The journey is going to be up and down. The wicket has given me a lot of confidence. I don’t want to think about it too much in the middle of the game. We have so much to work on. We have got him out and will try to get him out next innings as well. It is a long series.” 

Bess ended the day with 4 for 55 including the key scalps of Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant and Cheteshwar Pujara. India ended the day at 257 for 6 in reply to England’s massive 578 built on captain Joe Root’s masterly 218. 

Bess emphasised that getting the prized wicket of Kohli was more about the process than anything else. 

“Yeah, it was. Of course, I looked to get him out. But it was not about bowling that magical ball. It was more about smashing in 10 to 15 balls in a good area. That is what I was really pleased about. I kept it in the spot and one ball went straight to Ollie Pope,” he added. 

The England offie, who is playing his 13th Test and took 12 wickets in the recent tour of Sri Lanka, said he was bowling really well at the moment. 

“To be honest, I am bowling really well at the moment. We haven’t bowled that much in a match situation. But I was actually really confident going out there. The most important thing is the collective effort. We have taken six wickets today.  

“It has step up the game nicely and it is starting to spin. It is only going to get more. The new ball is around the corner and we are in a great seat at the moment,” Bess added. 

Asked how confident he was about winning the game, the England cricketer said he didn’t want to get too far ahead. 

“The most important thing is to finish off the first innings. We will then see where India are at that point. India has got Ashwin and Sundar who can certainly bat… 

“We will come back on Monday and reassess. Hopefully, we take four wickets. We know that the games over here speed up very quickly. We will stick to our processes and Monday is just a new day,” he added. 

Bess backed his spin partner Jack Leach, who went for quite a few runs with Rishabh Pant going after him. 

“I thought that Jack Leach bowled really well. Just look at the way he bowled to Pant and (Washington) Sundar. If you look at the map, there would be 20 balls within a spot. 

“Pant played phenomenal…If one ball goes straight up, it is a completely different game. The way Pant played was really courageous. The way Leach came back and kept smashing it in shows the qualities he has. It is about getting 10 wickets as a team. Leach is so strong mentally,” he added. 

Referring to the catches taken by skipper Joe Root and the others, Bess said the England fielding was ‘great’. 

To a question on the wicket of Pujara who was caught after his pull hit the short-leg fielder and the ball lobbed to Rory Burns, he said “I am not bothered about how the wickets come. 

“Pujara did well to try and pull the ball. You are due a bit of luck. It happens and that is cricket.” 

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