Pune: Ajit Agarkar ranks his five for 44 at the Nehru Stadium on Thursday much higher than the six for 42 in Melbourne last year.
“I’d rate this higher than my career-best figure because this has come to serve a winning cause. It won us the match and the series. Nothing can be more satisfying,” said the Man of the Match.
Agarkar has been in and out of the Indian side and hoped this performance would help him to cement his place. “But honestly I don’t look at it that way,” he added.
“The idea is to always give 100 per cent when you are selected. Today was my day, everything worked out well. The bottomline, however, is that we have won the series.”
Captain Rahul Dravid indicated that this victory would allow the thinktank to try out different options in the next three games.
The fourth loss in a row prompted Tom Moody to reflect on the positives his team could gain from the rest of the series. “We are very disappointed, no team likes to lose a match, let alone a series. We need to focus on the areas where we need to improve. The batting is falling into place, but we have to improve our bowling, and the fielding isn’t sharp enough either.
“Over the next three games, we will be playing not merely for pride but also to get something out of the experience of playing in India. We have made mistakes and India have played exceptionally well.
“They have come out punching from the first game, and taken us on. Their gambles have paid off and we must give them credit for that,” the Sri Lanka coach explained.
Moody admitted Sri Lanka were few runs short in the end. “I thought we were about 15-20 runs light after having recovered so well from being exposed to the conditions in the morning. We should have got 280-290, which would have made the game a lot more interesting.
“A couple of our bowlers has struggled with the conditions here. India is very tough for fast bowlers, it is a graveyard for the quicks, and in a way, it is therefore a wonderful opportunity for some of the younger guys to be exposed to bowling in India. They will grow and improve as cricketers in time to come.”
Asked if the Lankans had erred in not bringing in Chaminda Vaas early during the final stages, Moody said: “You’ve got to ask Maravan (Atapattu) about that. He possibly felt that tactically others would have helped finish the match for them.”
Moody did not wish to go into the specifics regarding Atapattu’s handling of the team.