Dom Bess delights in ‘special’ dismissal of ‘world-class’ Virat Kohli as England impress in India

Dom Bess hailed his “special” dismissal of India captain Virat Kohli as a sign he and England had done all the right things on day three of the first Test. 

Dismissed for 578 in their first innings, England were able to reduce India to 257 for six by Sunday evening thanks largely to Bess’s four for 55. Washington Sundar (33 not out) and Ravichandran Ashwin (eight) will pick up India’s first effort on day four, with Joe Root’s side angling to make use of a new ball available six overs into play to take the remaining 16 needed for victory in the first Test. 

Across 23 overs so far, Bess has arguably put together his best bowling performance so far in 13 appearances at this level. He offered reliability and a continued threat, particularly during an afternoon session that saw him also remove Ajinkya Rahane (one) and both half-centurions, Cheteshwar Pujara (73) and the devastating Rishahb Pant (91). 

READ MORE: Bess leaves India in a spin as England take control

But Kohli, as ever, was the scalp England most craved. The skipper has continuously been a thorn in their side, especially in India with an average of 66 and three hundreds across nine home Tests leading up to this one. After controlling the right-hander’s scoring with just three runs scored off 14 deliveries from the off-spinner, a catch off the inside edge to Ollie Pope at short leg set Bess on his way to the four he has so far. 

“It was [special],” said Bess. “More for the fact of what my process was. Of course, I was looking to get him out but it wasn’t about bowling that magic ball, it was about smashing in 10 to 15 balls in a good area, then something will happen. It’s the process of getting there. I was really pleased that I kept him in a spot then one has gone and it’s straight to Popey.

“Obviously the player, the calibre of who he is, is phenomenal. A world-class player, one of the best there is. But it’s more the process, what I’m learning and doing.”

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He stopped short of getting too excited. Kohli and India will bat again, not doubt using Sunday’s missteps as fuel for further battles to come. “The most important thing is coming back, finishing off the first innings and seeing where they are,” continued Bess, who is no doubt eyeing up a third five-wicket haul and second this year. 

If he gets there, it will be a haul that eclipses the five for 30 in Galle in January against Sri Lanka. Not just for more accomplished opposition, with how smartly he has performed and how fortunate he was a month ago. 

There was some fortune here, notably Pujara struck a short ball off Pope at short leg and into the hands of Rory Burns at midwicket. But he is taking plenty from his showing so far. 

“It’s out, I’m not bothered how it comes,” Bess said, firmly, after the Pujara was dismissal was brought up. “The seamers get some down leg side. You’re due a bit of luck aren’t you? There’s so many times you bowl a good ball and don’t get anything. It happens, that’s cricket.

“To be honest, I thought I’ve been bowling really well at the moment. There was a bit of chat in Galle but we haven’t bowled that much in a match situation and I was really confident going out there.”

He is currently sitting on 35 career wickets at an average of 30.88. There is still a fair way to go in this match, with England still 321 ahead, and the series as a whole with three matches to go. And, at just 23 years of age, a fair way to go for Bess, too. 

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