Strange things happen at this ground and, despite a sensible strategy after winning the toss, India fell apart in the third Test
It’s 11.23am and Virat Kohli is jogging down the Headingley steps. The sky is a watery grey, the air is thick with cheers and boos and India are four for two. In his 15-year career as a batter and captain, Kohli has pretty much seen it all. He has played international cricket in 17 countries, overcome adversity of every sort, faced down every kind of challenge in every format. But he has never won the toss at Headingley before.
Maybe this matters, and maybe it doesn’t. But there’s something about this place that seems to play tricks on the mind. It is a decade since Ricky Ponting won the toss against Pakistan, batted, and got rolled over for 88 in just over a session. Two decades before that, David Gower sent Australia in on a cloudy morning and watched them run up 601. Strange things happen everywhere, but whether it is microclimate or mythology, few grounds in the world can confound a captain’s expectations so comprehensively.