For the second time in this ODI series, India were in trouble chasing the small target against Sri Lanka but once again the batsmen bailed them out. Captain Virat Kohli said that small targets are always tricky to chase and the wicket in Pallekele was a challenging one.
“Small targets are always tricky. If it happens 2-3 times, it isn’t an issue. We’ve chased small targets convincingly before. Here it was the case of the wicket being a little challenging. A couple of those wickets, you wouldn’t get those wickets 8 out of 10 times,” Kohli said.
Opener Rohit Sharma scored an unbeaten century and MS Dhoni scored an unbeaten half-century as they both guided India to win. Kohli said that the middle-order is still young and they will learn.
“Rohit was outstanding, MS was great as well. These things happen, the [young] guys will learn in the middle order, we have to be patient with them,” he said.
Praising Jasprit Bumrah, who picked his first five wicket haul in ODIs, Kohli said that he is among the top short-format bowlers at the moment.
“Bumrah’s got 11 wickets in three games, he’s bowled really well, he’s among our top short-format bowlers at the moment. He hits the right areas, bowls at pace, and in the death overs he’s like a fish in water,” Kohli said.
“We have a squad of 15, we’ll look to give some guys a go, see how their game stands up in different situations. We’ve won three, and we can definitely afford to give them a few opportunities.”
Sri Lanka have no lost the series and can only hope to win the final two games. Captain Chamara Kapugedera said that the wicket was good but things did not go according to the plan.
“I thought it was a good wicket, so put some score on the board and hopefully we can defend, and like the last game we hoped it would grip a bit in the evening. Things didn’t go to our plans. We discussed about not playing dot balls in the middle overs, but things didn’t work out. 260-275 would have been a challenging score,” he said.
Man-of-the-match Bumrah said that he was happy to be back in the team after the break and has worked on his strengths and weakness in the break.
“It’s always good when you get a break [he was rested for India’s tour of the West Indies]. You can work on your strengths and refresh when you come back,” he said.
“This was a different wicket. Last match it was a bit slow, but this time there was a bit of seam movement with the new ball. It’s a good feeling, whenever you’re able to contribute to the team’s success.””