Not worried about Smith's 'mind games', says Kohli
Steven Smith turned the heat on India on the eve of the second Test in Bengaluru, declaring Australia are just "one or two sessions" away from retaining the Border-Gavaskar trophy, while Virat Kohli dismissed Smith's words as "mind games."
After starting the series as underdogs and given little chance of drawing, let alone winning a match, Australia would take an unassailable lead in the four-Test series if they win at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, a ground where Australia has an encouraging record of two wins, two draws and just one loss.
"I think they will feel under a little bit of pressure," Smith said. "Obviously, going into this series, all I heard was 4-0 to them. So they're one down and need to come back. We're one win away from [retaining] the Border-Gavaskar trophy. Things can happen pretty quickly here.
"So we might be one or two sessions away from getting that back. I'm sure they'll feel under a bit of pressure."
But Kohli was quick to brush off the suggestion that India would be feeling under pressure when he learned of Smith's comments.
"Me? As a team? Does it look like [we're under pressure]?" Kohli said, smilingly. "I'm pretty relaxed. I'm happy. I'm smiling. It's fine, those are his views and [he can say] whatever he wants to say. I think it's time we focus on our skills more than what Australia is saying or preparing like. I know these minds games in these press conferences are something they're very good at.
"We're still going to play the cricket that we've played for the last two years and see where the series ends after the fourth game."
Kohli also refused to be drawn on the importance of stopping Smith, whose gritty knock at Pune defied the conditions and was his third century from his past seven Test innings, instead pointing to the fact that India gave Smith several lives during his second innings.
"The whole team has to play well against Australia to win a Test match, that's something we've identified," said Kohli. "We're not focusing on one player at all.
"If we don't hold onto our chances it doesn't matter, at the end of the day, how many runs we score. We're not focusing on one player only. The whole ten wickets have to be taken twice to win a Test match. The comments and headlines don't matter. They never have, and we won't base our cricket on it."
Melinda Farrell is a presenter with ESPNcricinfo