Virat Kohli, after his century, on Saturday. The India vice-captain made 106 off 113 balls. (AFP)
Hambantota: Virat Kohli’s scintillating form continues. The dashing youngster’s century, his fourth in five matches, helped India begin their five-match ODI series against Sri Lanka on a winning note.
After receiving the Man of the Match award, the vice-captain of the Indian team said that he his reaping the harvest of his hard work.
The following are excerpts
Mahendra Singh Dhoni: It was a good win and a good way to start the series. But I think we need to improve on our death bowling... Zaheer Khan was good… Irfan Pathan’s form is also a positive… He is someone who can contribute with both the bat and the ball… It is important that he maintains this form because it would give stability to the lower order.
Without Ravindra Jadeja or Yuvraj Singh, it is difficult to make a side balanced in both departments, so Irfan’s form is really important. If there isn’t any pressure, you will never learn. The bowlers have got the variations… But it is about that particular scenario where you need to push yourself and execute the plans. It was a good learning experience for the younger bowlers.
Gautam Gambhir was unfortunate to get out in that fashion. But Virender Sehwag and Kohli batted very well… We lack a bit of firepower down the line... It was vital that Sehwag and Virat, who were both set, build a good platform for us. Suresh Raina and I did have the platform and so could execute the big strokes.
This was one game where I felt the toss would be crucial. In the second innings, there was variable bounce and it was a little difficult to bat on.
Mahela Jayawardene: It was quite tense in the end. We’ve got some big-hitters and the firepower is there. But then, we left too much for them to do as the asking rate was always rising.
We also made quite a few mistakes throughout the game... I think those mistakes cost us. And it was not easy for us to make a comeback against a quality opposition like India. I felt that we could have accelerated in the middle stages… That would have given us a bit more chance towards the end. But, at the same time, it was important for us to set up a platform. Kumar Sangakkara was trying to bat through the innings… He wanted to hold the innings together.
But we kept on losing the wickets at regular intervals and we never had the momentum going into the last 10 overs. Still, Thisara Perera and Kumar batted well in the death.
Nuwan Kulasekara and Lasith Malinga are two key players in the side. I depend on these two guys during the Powerplays. It was unfortunate that Nuwan got injured today.
I think we made quite a few mistakes on the field... We are an excellent fielding side and we need to maintain the standard when we are playing against India. So, we’ll try to refocus and improve our fielding standards.
We can learn a lot from this defeat. There are a lot of positives to take as well. We’re playing some really good cricket. We just need to ensure that we brush up on some areas and come back stronger in the next match.
Virat Kohli: God’s been kind and I’ve been working hard. Things have come out really well for me. At the start of the season, I had said that I want to carry my form throughout the season. Hopefully, I can be consistent for the team this season. This is where it matters... Performing for the country is the biggest thing for me. I try to prepare to the best of my abilities before the matches and I try to give my best out there for the team. I have learnt from the seniors that you get the most satisfaction by performing in Tests. The hundred against Australia really boosted my confidence. Even the big scores against strong oppositions in the tri-series in Australia helped me a lot .