"We've just got to bat big tomorrow, get as many runs as possible day three and day four, and put pressure on India, especially with the wicket starting to go up and down a little bit, and a bit of spin".
But Kohli's superb 149 took India to 274 all out, just 13 runs adrift of England's 287. Last night, ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin bowled a magical delivery to again get the priced scalp of seasoned opener Alastair Cook, leaving England at 9-1 at stumps.
It was the second time in the match that Ashwin had dismissed Cook, England's all-time leading Test run-scorer, this way.
He brought up his century off 172 balls, his 22nd in Test cricket and his fourth against England. The innings gave India a solid advantage in the first innings and with Indian bowlers performing well, England were beaten by an innings and 36 runs.
Jimmy Anderson was on 2 not out.
England had seized control after Sam Curran took three wickets in eight balls in an incredible spell of left-arm swing bowling, followed by Ben Stokes claiming two wickets in a fiery spell to leave India 100 for five in response to the home side's 287. This could not have been possible without the support of Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav. However, Kohli on Thursday turned things around when the right-handed batting genius struck a brilliant hundred under tough circumstances for his team at Birmingham in the first of the five-Test series. Interestingly, Virat Kohli's celebration on the ground after hitting a century was also eye-catching. Kohli ended up making more than half the runs India made and, vitally, allowed England just a minor lead of 13 runs.
He continued to punish the England bowlers to notch up 22 boundaries and a six during his 225-ball knock.
First to go was Vijay (20), plumb LBW to a late inswinger, then KL Rahul (4) played on to leave the tourists on 54 for two.
India have always been criticised for their poor close catching but England's slip cordon is not the most reliable either and, with the tourists still on 100, two chances went begging.
But the hosts were led to rue two dropped catches off the edge of Kohli's bat, the first of which was a howler by Dawid Malan at second slip.