Indian skipper Virat Kohli praised debutant Hardik Pandya’s all-round performance in the first Test match against Sri Lanka in Galle, where India registered a 304 run win. Kohli appreciated his contribution and felt the young player can do what Ben Stokes does for England.
Hardik Pandya left no stone unturned as he marked his Test debut with a half-century from just 49 balls, in a performance that drew praise from his skipper and justified his faith in him.
"I have a lot of faith in him (Hardik) as far as any format is concerned. If he grows in confidence - you see someone like Ben Stokes, what he does for England, brings in great balance as an all-rounder. I see no reason why Hardik Pandya can't become that for India," Kohli said at the post-match press conference, as reported by PTI.
After performing with the bat, he supported the team with the ball also as Nuwan Pradeep becomes his first Test wicket. The skipper was amazed by Pandya’s use of the short ball and the speed which he tried to maintain during his spell.
"In the first innings, he didn't get the opportunity to bowl much but I think in the second innings, he bowled really nicely on a wicket that wasn't offering much and he kept it in the right areas," said Kohli.
"He used the bouncer well. He bowls around 135, so he is a great asset and I have mentioned this before as well," he said.
Pandya came to bat in the 8th position and didn’t take too much time to show his worth as he scored his fifty in just 49 balls.
"We would have been 540-550 in the first innings. He got those 50 runs quickly and that saves you time as well. That gives you another 15 overs to bowl at the opposition. And his fielding is also tremendous."
India took a 1-0 lead in the series and the next match will be played in Colombo starting August 3.
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