Virat Kohli senses India have their chance to seize the moment against England in Southampton.
As the tourists bid this summer to become only the second team in Test history to recover from a 2-0 deficit and prevail in a five-match series, Kohli indicated they will break with their own modern tradition here by naming an unchanged line-up.
The India captain confirmed Ravi Ashwin has recovered from the hip injury which troubled him during his team’s 203-run victory at Trent Bridge as they reduced their Specsavers series arrears to 2-1 with two to play.
Virat Kohli believes India are capable of levelling the series against England at the Ageas Bowl
In this fourth match of five, for the first time in 46 Tests – a sequence pre-dating Kohli’s tenure as captain, all the way back to Lord’s in 2014 – India are therefore set to stick with the same XI.
Whether that does come to pass or not on Thursday morning, Kohli is confident his world number one team have a golden opportunity to consolidate their fightback.
‘Right now we understand we are in a very exciting position,’ he said.
‘We have gained momentum at the right time in the series and played like that when 2-0 down – when everyone thought that it is going to be a clean sweep, or we are going to be rolled over.
‘We understood … it was just about capitalising on the big moments during the Test match … making sure we are relentless and ruthless – which we did in Nottingham.’
Kohli is expecting a significant response from England, however, and is calling on a redoubled effort from his team-mates.
‘If Nottingham was hard work, this is going to be even harder,’ he said.
Captain Kohli and his team-mates go through a warm-up in their final session before the Test
‘England will want to come back strongly … we understand we will have to be even better (than at) Nottingham.’
As for the likelihood of retaining the same line-up at last, he said: ‘It has not always been the case of changes … there have been injuries as well.
‘It has been a mix of both. (But) seeing the way things are right now, we don’t feel we need to change anything.’
Kohli has confirmed his team are likely to stick with their current bowling attack
India will apparently resist any temptation to field an extra frontline spin option – Ravindra Jadeja alongside Ashwin – or rely exclusively on seam either, on a pitch currently tinged with green but expected to provide something for everyone in due course.
‘I doubt an all-pace attack is the right option,’ said Kohli.
‘The last time we played here [in 2014] the spinners came into play in the second innings – there were big footmarks.
‘The surface is pretty hard.
‘Once it wears there can be big footmarks, and spinners can get a lot in the second innings.’