India's 126-run win against England in Hyderabad was a dramatic turnaround after they had been battered by the same opposition all summer, but Virat Kohli said they had been playing good cricket from the one-day series in England. Rather than any drastic change in approach, Kohli said it was the fact that the team had continued to stay positive through the 0-3 loss in the ODIs in England that allowed them to win the game.
"I think we played really well in the ODIs in England," Kohli said. "It was just a matter of crossing the line which we couldn't do there. Unfortunately, a few times we had rain and Duckworth/Lewis coming in at the wrong time, though we can't really blame that. We fought hard through that series and kept our heads high; and that probably made the difference in this first game here."
India were also helped by home conditions in Hyderabad and Kohli said the spinners would be the key through the series. The second ODI, on Monday, is at Kohli's home ground - the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi, where the pitch had been quite inconsistent during the IPL in April-May.
"This pitch has always been on the slower side and there isn't much bounce," Kohli said. "Apparently it's improved from before. You might not see too much bounce but it should be better than before.
"In Hyderabad, it was slow and it spun, and the spinners did well. That's our strength and we would like to exploit it as much as we can. The spinners know the conditions in India really well; it's about them expressing their skills and if they get it right it's very difficult to tackle them on Indian wickets."
England lost six wickets to the spinners in Hyderabad, and though they had more than a week in India to prepare for the series, Jade Dernbach says they are still adjusting to conditions. "Conditions here are very different from what we experience back home," he said. "We have just got to adapt; we can't use the different pitches as an excuse. We know what to expect and have had good preparation for ten days.
"The pitch does play a part in how quickly I bowl, and how much pace I take off the ball for the slower ones. If the pitch is very slow, then obviously you get a lot more pace taken off if you bowl a slower ball, so it gives the batsman a bit more time to see it. Those are the things you have to adapt to in terms of deciding what variations to use, and you also have to consider boundary sizes and other things."
After the first one-dayer, MS Dhoni had said that while the pitches would help the spinners, the possibility of dew could play a big role in the series, as that would affect the spinners' ability to grip the ball. "There will be some dew here in the winter," Kohli said. "The team batting second will also have an advantage as the wicket will settle down. This is my home ground but I have played just two games here this year so I'll have to see what happens in the match tomorrow."
England's coach Andy Flower admitted his side had been out-fielded by India in the first ODI, something he said did not happen often. India have a young squad for the one-day series with several senior players missing, and Kohli said there had been a concerted effort to raise the standard of fielding.
"We have started to warm-up for practice sessions with fielding now. It's a daily routine though it's left up to the individuals how much time they want to spend on fielding practice. Whenever you have time before nets or after practice, you go and put some time in on fielding.
"All of us are trying to improve as a fielding unit because it makes a huge difference if you can save 10-15 runs in the first ten overs. It sends the opposition a message and from then on they are wary of taking you on for an extra run. It's enjoyable fielding at home because you have 60,000 people backing you. If you are feeling a bit off one day the crowd lifts you. You can't really teach someone to enjoy fielding as it comes from within."