Avishka Fernando, after his 76 that guided Sri Lanka to victory in the third ODI, revealed that he was desperate to learn to bat long and expressed satisfaction in achieving the same. Fernando also talked about his batting struggles in England after which he had to make changes to his footwork.
Sri Lanka have finally something to cheer about after they won the final ODI against India by three wickets on Friday at R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
After spinners Akila Dananjaya (3/44) and Praveen Jayawickrama (3/59) helped Sri Lanka to bowl out India for 225, opener Avishka Fernando, along with Bhanuka Rajapaksa, led the 227-run chase in a match that was reduced to 47 overs.
Fernando scored 76 from 98 balls, playing second fiddle to Rajapaksa in their 109-run alliance for the second wicket and the opener was awarded as the player of the match for his calm and composed knock. It was Fernando's second fifty of the series, and speaking post the third ODI, the opener revealed that he was looking to bat long, and expressed satisfaction in managing to do so on Friday.
"I can usually get runs in the powerplay so I batted my usual way in those overs, but I needed to figure out how I bat from that point onwards. As someone who bats at the top, I needed to be able to play those long innings and I wanted to do that in this series. I was able to do what the team needed," Fernando said in the post-match presentation.
Rajapaksa scored 65 off 56 balls at the strike rate of 116.07 and pummelled a total of 12 boundaries in his sensible and calculative innings that allowed Fernando to play his natural game and rotate the strike throughout the partnership. Fernando credited Rajapaksa for his spectacular knock and also mentioned that there was no pressure on them while chasing.
"Bhanuka aiya (brother) plays his game his way. At that point, we didn't need me to be scoring quickly as well. So I thought I'd give him the strike, because almost every over he would hit a four or a six. I was able to do that and he was batting well. Because we were able to rotate the strike we put on a good partnership," Avishka asserted on his partnership with Rajapaksa.
Before the India series, Sri Lanka suffered back to back losses at the hands of England in both T20Is and ODIs in their limited-overs tour last month. Fernando, who suffered an injury in the tour, struggled to get enough runs and could only manage 22 runs from four innings in the tour. The 23-year-old opener revealed that he had to make some amendments in his footwork that helped him to score runs against India.
"I did change a few little things between the England series and this one. I had an issue with my front leg going to the offside too much. So I corrected that in training, and then because of that I was able to get back in the runs," Fernando revealed.