Chasing 245 to win, India fell to a 60-run defeat at the Ageas Bowl as England clinched the five-match series 3-1 with a match to spare. It was once again a case of so near, and yet so far for the visitors who suffered a narrow 1-2 defeat to South Africa on their previous overseas tour.
Speaking after the Southampton defeat, Kohli stressed on the importance of capitalising on advantageous positions such as the first innings where India were well placed to take a commanding lead.
“We can look at the scoreboard and say we were only 30 or 50 runs away, but we have to recognise that when we are in the midst of a situation, and not later. We know that we have played good cricket but we cannot say again and again ourselves that we have competed,” Kohli said.
“When you come so close, there is an art of crossing the line as well, which we will have to learn. We have the ability, which is why we are getting close to a result. But when a pressure situation comes, how we react to it, is something we have to work on a bit,” he added.
It was once again a poor start to the series which proved costly for Kohli’s men. In South Africa, they went down 0-2 before bouncing back with a win in the final Test and in England, they suffered losses at Edgbaston and Lord’s before notching up a win at Trent Bridge.
The India skipper believes his side need to start overseas series much better if they are to have a better chance of wins.
“Look we’ve spoken about the fact that even during the match when we’re in a driving position, we should be able to capitalise on it and not let the opposition come in, and fight back again and again. We can take a leaf out of that. Nottingham we did that, for three days we were relentless and on top,” the 29-year-old explained.
“So we need to think about how to start a series like that as well. As a group, we need to be more relentless when we start a series and a bit more expressive and fearless at the beginning of a series,” he added.
The two sides will lock horns now in the fifth and final Test which gets underway at The Oval on September 7.
After a Test match for the ages in Southampton, we look back at some of the key numbers so far in the series.
Most runs in the series – Virat Kohli
Jos Buttler (260), Sam Curran (251), Cheteshwar Pujara (241) and Ajinkya Rahane (220) make up the top five.
Most wickets in the series – James Anderson
Matches – 4
Innings – 8
Wickets – 19
Average – 17.68
Economy – 2.39
Overs Bowled – 140.1
Maidens – 38
Runs conceded – 336
Best – 5-20
Indian paceman Ishant Sharma (15) is second while Stuart Broad and Mohammed Shami are tied on 14, with Jasprit Bumrah the fifth-most productive bowler on 11 scalps.
Anderson is now just four wickets shy of levelling Australian great Glenn McGrath’s haul of 563 scalps.
Most catches – KL Rahul and Alastair Cook (tied with 11 each)
The Indian opener’s catches have come during just seven India innings, as opposed to Cook’s eight occasions in the field. KL Rahul snaffled a series-high four during the tourists’ emphatic third Test win at Trent Bridge.
Highest Partnership in the Series – Sixth-wicket stand of 189 between Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes at Lord’s.
Highest Team Total – England: 396-7d, off 88.1 overs in second innings of second match at Lord’s.
Most fours – Virat Kohli (61)
Most sixes – Sam Curran (4, from just five innings)
Highest strike-rate in an innings – Jos Buttler 121.87 (39 off 32 balls, including three 4s and two 6s)
Highest Test aggregate of runs – Trent Bridge (1,159 runs scored between the sides).
Total amount of wickets to have fallen – 144: 40 at Birmingham; 27 at Lord’s; 37 at Nottingham and 40 during the Southampton Test.
Most extras conceded in an innings – 34, forming England’s first innings total of 246 at Southampton (B: 23; lb; 9, nb: 2).
Despite relinquishing the series 1-3 with a match to spare, India skipper Virat Kohli lauded the intensity shown by his men and vowed to come back stronger in the final match at the Oval.
“I thought England played really well to give us that target, seeing how the pitch was and the ball was spinning, it was challenging for us,” Kohli said after the match.
“We thought we were in with a chance last night but we didn’t get the start we wanted, they were relentless with the ball and applied pressure throughout. Credit to them, they bowled well and we couldn’t get enough.
“There were many factors, but not many negatives, England played better than us and deserved the win. We need to take the positives into the next Test match.
“Apart from Lord’s I don’t think we have been outplayed, it’s been enjoyable, teams going at each other with good quality. We’ll go to the Oval and come out with the same intensity.”
Kohli, who went past 500 runs individually in the series, lauded England youngster Sam Curran for his fighting displays with the bat in both the innings. The 20-year-old England all-rounder struck a brilliant 78 in the first innings before following it up with an equally crucial 46 in the second innings.
“I think it’s great to have guys who strike the ball well in those positions, you can get a partnership together and hurt the opposition,” Kohli said about the youngster.
“They are fearless and have skills, they were braver than us in tough positions. Runs from the lower order were significant, I congratulate Sam Curran, he’s been a fine cricketer.”
The fifth and final Test between the two sides will get underway at the Oval in London on September 7.