Hardik Pandya has had a splendid start to his Test career – a fifty to start in Galle, a 20 in the second Test and a maiden Test ton in the third and final Test. His 108 runs in the first innings propelled India to 487 runs and took the Test beyond the hosts. To make matters even worse for Sri Lanka and their disappointing bowling attack, his blistering century arrived in just one session.
His contribution to the side was appreciated by India skipper Virat Kohli following India’s emphatic inning and 171 runs win at Pallekele to inflict a clean sweep on the islanders. “A good day, a good win. Always nice to have a convincing win. I would say the regulars have performed, the biggest positive was Hardik’s inclusions – he gives us a boost in the middle order,” said Kohli in the post-match interaction.
Besides doing the job with the bat, Pandya picked up four wickets in the series. He said its not easy to have an immediate impact with the ball in Test cricket but expressed happiness to help the team with the willow. “I was glad that I got my first hundred here, situation pretty good for me. I was always going to have a target in mind. Test cricket is not easy to get five-fors, takes plenty of hardwork. I’m alright with where the team needs me to bat,” he said.
With the 3-0 blanking of Sri Lanka, India recorded their first away series whitewash. Kohli believes the reason for the success is their ability to be reactive. “We are a young side, looking forward to all Tests, that’s the only way you can be ruthless. We like to be proactive instead of reactive,” said Kohli having led India to ninth straight series win.
Shikhar Dhawan was rewarded for an all around show in the series. He scored 338 runs in four innings with two centuries along the way. To think he was within touching distance of missing out and he was quite aware of that.
“Before the series, I was in Hong Kong enjoying my holiday. Things went very well for me.”
“I got backup from my management. I enjoy playing this way, it’s my natural game. I’ve to keep doing as nothing is permanent. We have tight competition for all positions,” said Dhawan who came in following injury to Murali Vijay.