Adelaide, Jan 16: Justin Langer, the Australia coach, said his team were up against two of the “all-time great” one-day international players in Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni on Tuesday.
Kohli scored his 39th century in the format to keep India in the chase before Dhoni rolled back the years with a 54-ball 55 not out to topple the target.
Langer wasn’t bitter about the loss, and instead said it was “an incredible experience” for his young team to play against this Indian side. “To watch Virat and then MS do what he did at the end, it’s just a brilliant tutorial for our young batters,” he said.
“Class always comes to the top, so we must respect that. The way that Virat and MS batted today – you hate losing, but when you see that it’s amazing and it’s why they’re such great players," said Langer.
“We’ll gain great experience from it, and in big tournaments like the World Cup (starting in the UK next June), I like to see our guys under pressure like they were tonight," he said.
“We’ll be much better for the experience, and it’s still one-all in the series so that means it’s alive and well,” the Australia coach said.
Inevitably, Langer was asked to compare Kohli with the great from his own generation – Sachin Tendulkar. Kohli has taken just 210 innings to reach 39 centuries in ODIs. Tendulkar took 350 innings to reach the same figure. Kohli also has a better average in ODIs – 59.76 to Tendulkar’s 44.83, an ICC report said.
However, in Test cricket, they are almost identical – Tendulkar averaged 53.78 from 329 innings, Kohli averages 53.76 from 131 innings. “Sachin and Virat? I'd like to have them both in my team," Langer said. “Sachin, he was an incredible cricketer. And his record, well, it's peerless isn't it — and Virat is doing the same thing. He's so calm, he's so competitive."
"(Kohli) is a great competitor. His concentration is extraordinary — anyone who makes so many runs has incredible powers of concentration, like all the great players do," Langer said. “So Sachin and Virat? And then you see MS Dhoni. He has played 340 (ODI) games and he averages 50 … you reckon he can't concentrate? All-time great player. Our guys are in the best seats in the house at the moment playing some of the all-time great players. And they will be better for the experience,” said Langer.
The third and final ODI will be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday. (UNI)