Virat Kohli on Friday dismissed Australia’s claim that India are under pressure following their heavy opening Test defeat as “mind games”, insisting there will be no repeat performance in the second clash.
Steve Smith’s Australia side, who started the four-match series as underdogs, humiliated top-ranked India by 333 runs inside just three days in Pune last week, meaning the hosts must triumph in Bangalore to keep alive their hopes of winning the contest.
Smith told Australian media that India will be “under (a) little bit of pressure” going into the second Test, stressing his side were just a couple of good sessions away from retaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
But skipper Kohli told reporters that India were focusing on their game rather than bothering about what the opposition was saying.
“I am pretty relaxed, I am happy I am smiling. It’s his (Smith’s) views, whatever he wants to say,” said Kohli at Bangalore’s M Chinnaswamy Stadium, on the eve of the Test starting Saturday.
“It’s time we focus on our skills more than what Australia is saying or Australia is preparing. I know these mind games and these press conferences are something they are very good at.
“We’ve still got to play the cricket we have played in the last two years and see where the series ends in the fourth game,” he added.
The world number two Australians beat India at their own game of spin, restricting the hosts to miserable scores of 105 and 107 on the Pune wicket, which offered huge turn from the very start.
The loss ended India’s record unbeaten streak of 19 matches, which stretched back to 2015, and Kohli promised Indian fans that his side would not repeat their dismal showing.
“I can assure you everyone is taking this as a massive challenge and everyone is raring to turn things around in the series,” said the captain, who endured a rare duck during the first innings.
“I assure you that you will not see a repeat of that kind of performance,” Kohli added.
While the Pune wicket was rated “poor” by match referee Chris Broad and attracted lot of criticism, Kohli expects the Bangalore pitch to favour the Indians.
“Whenever we have played Test cricket out here we have done really well,” he said.
“The last time we played a Test match (there) we won, even against Australia the last time we played here we won. So obviously those things are big positives for us,” he added.
Smith told reporters that a big first innings total would be key as Australia seek to take an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the series.
“Looking at the wicket it’s crucial to score big first innings runs and that’s about playing ourselves and trying to bat long periods and build big partnerships,” said Smith.
“The last wicket we played on we thought 250 was a good total. On this occasion I think it’s going to be a lot more than that in the first innings,” he said.
“We know that we have to win one more game to regain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and things can happen pretty quickly here in India at certain times, particularly at the back end of the game,” said Smith.