Australia v India: How do the hosts stop Virat Kohli?

By Sports Desk December 04, 2018

As Australia and India prepare to do battle over four Tests across the next month, there remains one burning question: How do you stop Virat Kohli?

On his last tour Down Under in 2014-15, Kohli racked up 692 runs across four matches, his four hundreds and one fifty contributing to a stunning average of 86.50.

The only player to score more runs in that series, which the home side won 2-0, was Australia's Steve Smith - a man who will be conspicuous by his absence this time around as he continues to serve a suspension following the ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town back in March.

His ban, as well as those handed down to David Warner and Cameron Bancroft in the wake of that fiasco, have left Australia's top order looking inexperienced and at times decidedly shaky.

But Justin Langer's side can take comfort from India's recent troubles in England, where they were thumped 4-1, as well as being able to call upon arguably the strongest bowling attack in world cricket.

So how will the likes of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon quell the finest batsman on the planet? Omnisport enlisted the help of Opta to break down the numbers and perhaps offer a few pointers...

 

IT'S A NUMBERS GAME

- In 15 Tests against Australia, Kohli boasts an average of 50.84, slightly down on the figure for his career as a whole, which stands at 54.57.

- Across two tours, Kohli has played eight Tests Down Under, his superb series in 2014-15 improving his average on Australian soil to 62.

- In the 2011-12 series, it took Kohli six attempts to pass fifty, but he followed up that 75 with a century in Adelaide - the venue for the opening Test on Thursday.

 

SIDDLE TO LAY THE TRAP IN CORRIDOR OF UNCERTAINTY?

Former Australia quick Jason Gillespie has urged the bowling attack to maintain "a fourth-stump line, about bail high", to frustrate Kohli. Peter Siddle, recently recalled to the Test set-up after a two-year absence, could be just the man for the job.

- Siddle has sent down 280 deliveries to Kohli in Tests. Of those, the India batsman has played an attacking shot to just 15.7 per cent - lower than against any other member of the Australia squad. 

- During that period, Siddle has dismissed Kohli on four occasions for a strike rate of 70 - better than any of his team-mates, among those to have bowled more than one ball.

- It seems Siddle is perfectly suited to Gillespie's plea to try the patience of Kohli. The world's top-ranked Test batsman, when facing Siddle, plays a false shot at 23.1 per cent of deliveries - more than against any other member of this Australia team.

 

WELCOME TO THE LYON'S DEN

- Should Australia's seam attack prove unsuccessful, captain Tim Paine can turn to Lyon, who, along with James Anderson and Stuart Broad, has dismissed Kohli more often in Test cricket than anyone (five times).

- But Kohli has had his joy against the off-spinner, too, scoring 316 runs from Lyon's 553 deliveries at an average of 63.2.

- Perhaps more concerning for Lyon is Kohli's aggressive game plan. The India batsman has played an attacking stroke to 24.8 per cent of his balls from the man they call 'Garry' - more than against any other Australia bowler.

- That approach should give Lyon more opportunities to claim a wicket, but Kohli only plays a false shot at 11.9 per cent of deliveries from the off-spinner - roughly half as many as against Siddle.

 

CUMMINS THE GOLDEN ARM?

- Perhaps Pat Cummins is the answer! The right-arm quick has sent down just one delivery to Kohli, but it brought a wicket - an edge to second slip during the drawn third Test in Ranchi in March 2017.

Related items

  • Roy, Root star as England complete record run chase Roy, Root star as England complete record run chase

    Jason Roy and Joe Root both struck centuries as England completed a record run chase to win the first one-day international against West Indies in Barbados.

    Set 361 to win after Chris Gayle's 24th ODI hundred had helped West Indies to 360-8 from their 50 overs, Roy and Root starred in Bridgetown.

    Gayle had thrilled a packed Kensington Oval as he marked his return to ODIs in style, but his 135 off 129 balls was ultimately in vain.

    After Roy's superb knock at the top of the order, Root (102) guided the tourists to a six-wicket victory with eight balls to spare – becoming the fastest Englishman to 5,000 ODI runs in the process.

    The victory marked England's biggest successful run chase in ODIs, eclipsing the 350 they managed against New Zealand in June 2015.

    In his first ODI since July, Gayle made a sluggish start and had just nine runs off 32 balls when he was dropped by Roy.

    That proved costly as the flamboyant opener made England pay with a sensational display of hitting.

    Aided by fine knocks from Shai Hope (64) and Shimron Hetmyer (20), Gayle pushed the Windies towards a huge total as he cleared the rope on 12 occasions.

    Those maximums helped the hosts set a record of 23 in a single innings, while also giving Gayle the most individual sixes in international cricket – moving past Shahid Afridi.

    Despite his slow start, Gayle reached three figures off 100 balls and continued to bludgeon England's bowling until he was dismissed by a slower ball from Ben Stokes.

    Darren Bravo (40) and Ashley Nurse (25 not out) pushed the Windies up to 360-8, the latter hitting a six off the last ball of the innings to eclipse New Zealand's mark for most maximums in an innings.

    A target of 361 could have been daunting for England but they showed why they are the number one side in the world and Cricket World Cup favourites with a successful run chase.

    Roy and Jonny Bairstow gave them a solid foundation with an opening partnership of 91, before the former took the lead in a 114-run stand with Root.

    Like Gayle before him, Roy pierced the field with unerring regularity, finding the boundary on 15 occasions and clearing it a further three.

    While Root anchored one end, Roy motored to his seventh hundred, brought up off just 65 balls as England made light work of their challenge.

    They were helped by some sloppy fielding from the Windies with Oshane Thomas, Bravo and Nurse all dropping catches that allowed England to build momentum.

    Even after Roy's departure for 123, the tourists continued to keep the scoreboard ticking over as Root and captain Eoin Morgan frustrated the Windies with a 116-run partnership.

    Morgan perished for 65 but Root went on to reach three figures to give his side a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

  • Lloyd backs Windies to spring World Cup surprises Lloyd backs Windies to spring World Cup surprises

    Legendary West Indies captain Clive Lloyd has backed the regional team to spring a few surprises at this summer’s ICC Cricket World Cup. 

    The Windies only just secured a spot in the final, having qualified from the ICC World Cup qualifiers last year.  Since then, however, the team has shown signs of improvement under the leadership of current skipper Jason Holder.

    Lloyd, who won the tournament as the captain in 1974 and ’78, is confident the team has the ability but is yet to find a level of consistency.

     “I think they can be the surprise package,” Lloyd said of the team’s chances.

    “The West Indies had a very good one day side four years running but you can never get the same guys playing.  They go off to the IPL or somewhere else. But when you have them they gel together,” he added.

    “They were quite a formidable side. If they have the right combination here they will be a force to be reckoned with in this competition.”

    The Windies will play their first match of the tournament against Pakistan on May 31st.  The top four teams from the group will progress to the knockout stage

     

  • Jamaica Scorpions seek revenge against leaders Guyana Jaguars at Sabina Jamaica Scorpions seek revenge against leaders Guyana Jaguars at Sabina

    Still smarting from their loss to the Guyana Jaguars a fortnight ago, the Jamaica Scorpions have revenge on their mind when they host the table-topping side at Sabina Park February 21 to 24 in the Windies Championships.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.