How New Zealand set up Kohli

Test sides bowl with plans to get batsmen out. The field, your history with certain bowlers and certain dismissals, the bowler's strengths, and your own habits usually indicate what that plan is. Rarely does the plan catch you by surprise. So the big screen at Eden Gardens did not need to show Virat Kohli's dismissal in Kanpur just after Neil Wagner had bowled his second bouncer at India's captain. From the end that that Wagner was bowling those bouncers, the High Court End, the big screen was right in Kohli's eye line at long-off. It is possible he saw it too. Wagner bowling short with a deep fine leg and a deep square leg, right between his chest and his shoulder, Kohli hooking and top-edging it for an easy catch. They might as well have played Kohli under-edging a hook in Auckland to a ball wide enough to be cut.

It was no secret, what the plan was. Bounce him, deny him, then bowl the sucker ball. If he wants to take the short ball on, you have the field. This time a forward and a backward short leg to go with deep fine leg and deep square leg.

Different batsmen deal differently with plans. Some prefer to see that period out; let the bowlers give their best, absorb everything they have got, and then take on lesser or tired bowlers. Some hate to allow bowlers to bowl to a plan. They want to defeat the plan. The batsman's ego then takes over. Kohli usually falls in the second category, which is why New Zealand felt they could play on his patience.

To be fair to Kohli, both times in Kanpur he came out in situations where he could attempt to dominate. Perhaps the situation of the innings made him play the shots he did. Here he was going to show more patience, having walked in at 28 for 2 on a pitch helpful enough to quicks, thereby allowing the New Zealand bowlers to bowl to a plan. One of the reasons you felt this patience was going to be short-lived, though, is Kohli's insistence on not letting the bowler dominate.

The other big reason was that "between chest and shoulder" is Wagner's "top of off". And he is a beast when it comes to fitness and endurance. He has the field, and he can bowl to that field for long periods. You feel he will tire at some point, he doesn't. Once, in Christchurch, he took six wickets with bouncers after Australia had dominated their way to 356 for 2. None of his first five wickets was a fend, they were all aggressive shots. The batsmen had just tired of ducking and weaving. Wagner hadn't tired of bowling bouncers. Add to that that Kohli has that batsman's ego, which hates it when the bowlers think they have an obvious plan.

So started this great dance. Wagner bowling bouncers. None of them to be sanctioned by the umpire. Kohli looking to show patience - for how long, you wondered. Duck. Duck. Replay on big screen. Fended in front of rib cage. Get inside the line with the short ball worryingly following you. Behind the line to fend. Another duck.

Six balls were enough. Having watched Mitchell Santner tie Pujara up at the other end, Kohli pulled the first ball of Wagner's next over, but he was on it too late and was lucky the mis-hit didn't go to hand. Two more bouncers followed in that Wagner spell. Kohli ducked one, and then rose to his toes to fend off the other.

With nine bouncers bowled to Kohli, with the batsman on 4 off 22 balls, New Zealand thought Wagner had done his job. Wagner had softened the joint with many blows, now a precision artist was required to break it. Enter Trent Boult. For a moment, when he drove beautifully off the first ball he faced from Boult, it seemed like Kohli had seen off the tough period. The bowler corrected his length for the next two balls, denying Kohli the drive, and then bowled the sucker ball that was part of the original plan. Short of driving length but full enough to draw the batsman forward, wide outside off, away from Kohli's reach.

Teams have always tried to get Kohli out by denying him outside off, bowling out of reach of his cover drive. Kohli doesn't want that to happen. On flatter pitches he bulldozes that plan, as he did in Australia. This is not to say that his way is always the wrong way or the right way. Arguably you need different characters in the team, who handle bowlers' plans differently. As Kohli said a day before the match, as cricketers all you can do is prepare the best you can because of the amount of luck involved in the game.

The shot that Kohli eventually played, there was no way he could have controlled it. Now it was all down to luck. Perhaps the edge would go too fast. Too high. Perhaps the man at gully would drop it. Perhaps the bowler has overstepped. Through his impatience and shot selection, Kohli had brought luck into it. It did not go his way. New Zealand celebrated a plan well executed.