CHENNAI: England off-spinner Dom Bess couldn’t have had a better initiation to Test cricket in India. On Day 3 of the Chepauk Test, the 23-year-old Englishman took 4/55 in 23 overs with his very first wicket being India captain Virat Kohli himself. The other three wickets were that of Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant as Bess made major inroads into the Indian batting line-up.
While Bess was obviously chuffed with Kohli’s wicket, he said that the build-up to the dismissal made it extra special. “Kohli’s wicket is certainly the most satisfying of my career. He is obviously one of the best players. It is very special, but more for what my process was. It is not about bowling that magic ball. It’s about smashing in 10-15 balls in a good area and then something will happen. It is that process and that is what I was really pleased about. I kept him in a spot,” Bess said after play on Sunday.
Bess had bowled three quiet overs to the Indian skipper before the wicket-taking delivery, which was bowled at a wider line to the preceding deliveries. Kohli wasn’t able to get to the pitch of the ball and ended up offering a catch to short leg.
While the wickets of Rahane and Pujara were fortuitous given that they came off a full toss and a short delivery respectively, Bess feels he is bowling at his best right now.
“Yeah, I think this is the best I have ever bowled. I thought I bowled really well in South Africa (a year ago), but I am coming into this series with not a lot of preparation,” he said.
In contrast, left-arm spinner Jack Leach did not have a good outing on Sunday as he was dealt with harshly by a belligerent Pant. However, Bess remains confident that Leach will bounce back strongly.
“I thought he bowled really well too. Pant is a completely different player. But he came back again and just kept hitting good areas. He is strong mentally and those hits are not going to faze him,” Bess said, offering encouragement to his spin partner.