Virat Kohli has heaped praise on Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who got the man of the match award in the first Test against Sri Lanka after picking up eight wickets in two innings. He also stated that the conditions changed drastically over the five days and despite that the visitors showed a lot of character.
Bhuvneshwar and Mohammed Shami started India's 231-run defence in the best possible manner reducing Sri Lanka to 75/5 in just 26.3
“His bowling has picked up the pace, his ball is heavier than what it used to be. He grabs his chances every time he comes into the team. He's a massive contender to start in every Test for India, he'll be a vital part of our plans, especially overseas," said Kohli after the game.
Though not very handy with the bat Kumar this game, he produced a classy cameo with Kohli in the second innings. The skipper enjoyed it as well. "As soon as we lost Wriddhi, me and Bhuvi started having fun. It was important to take our minds of the situation and the shots started coming off. Luckily they took the new ball. I decided, if we don't show intent, there may not be much to offer. So yeah, that helped,” said Kohli.
During this match, Kohli completed his 50th international hundred. He took 348 innings for this feat and now joins Hashim Amla to become the fastest batsman to score fifty centuries in international cricket.
“(50 international hundreds) feels good. It hasn't been a long journey yet. If I can step up and perform, that will give me more pleasure than thinking of the number of hundreds I have. That will remain the mindset till I play this game,” he said.
The rain-affected match was a blessing for Sri Lanka as they showed their dominance in the initial stage of the game. In comparison to the team which India played three months back, this seemed a very changed side who showed fighting spirit despite early collapse. Apart from rain, the match was also highlighted because of some on-field controversies like the fake fielding and DRS-gate. However, Kohli still credited the visiting side giving a challenge to India.
“It was important to make something out of the game with whatever time we had. Conditions changed drastically over the five days. We had to show character, having been on the backfoot on day one and day two. Credit to Sri Lanka. The team showed a lot of character. We didn't look at the batting collapse. We believed in our strengths. If you didn't have intent on this wicket, it would've been difficult to survive. That was the key. If we got enough good balls in the right areas, it would've been tough. All in all, we're proud of how we finished,” Kohli said.
The next match of the series will start on November 24.
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