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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

Hardik Pandya glad to score maiden century in debut series against Sri Lanka

It was a stunning show by Hardik Pandya as he played a swashbuckling knock to guide India to a historic series victory over Sri Lanka in Pallekele.

india-vs-sri-lanka-2017 Updated: Aug 14, 2017 17:34 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pallekele
Hardik Pandya scored a brilliant century against Sri Lanka in the Pallekele Test
Hardik Pandya scored a brilliant century against Sri Lanka in the Pallekele Test(AFP)

Hardik Pandya said on Monday that Test cricket is hard work for bowlers after he played a vital role in India’s commanding victory over Sri Lanka in the third and final Test at Pallekele. Thanks to his swashbuckling knock in the first innings, Pandya was adjudged the Man of the Match in for the first time in his Test career. (HIGHLIGHTS)

It was Pandya’s rapid century — studded with eight boundaries and seven sixes — which powered India to a total of 487. Pandya not only brought up his first century in First-Class cricket, but also managed to create a few records. (SCORECARD)

He blasted a record 26 runs off Malinda Pushpakumara in the 116th over of India’s innings, registering the most runs collected by an Indian batsman in an over in Test cricket. Pandya also etched his name in the record books by hitting as many as seven sixes — only behind Navjot Singh Sidhu’s eight — in a Test innings.

“I am glad that I got my first hundred here, I didn’t have a First-Class hundred before coming here. The situation was pretty good for me when I went in and I knew that I could back my instincts,” said Pandya, whose onslaught left Sri Lanka clueless.

READ | Virat Kohli & Co. excited to play together for next few years

Despite playing as an all-rounder, Pandya bowled a grand total of seven overs in the third Test and claimed one wicket. India did not utilise Pandya enough despite playing him as the fifth bowler.

In fact, earlier in the series, there was criticism headed the team’s way when Virat Kohli did not use him as a bowler, especially when Sri Lanka showed resistance in the second Test at Colombo.

He defending his returns with the ball by saying, “I have (been) bowling as well and Test cricket is not an easy place to come and take a fifer. I have to keep working harder.”

Pandya added that he is ready to bat at any position. “I am pretty alright to bat wherever the team wants me to. This team is pretty amazing. Everyone backs me to do well,” he said.

READ | Hardik Pandya’s emergence ‘biggest positive’ for India in Sri Lanka: Virat Kohli

Shikhar Dhawan, who was awarded with the Man of the Series, acknowledged once again that there is a very ‘tight competition’ between openers in the Indian cricket team.

Murali Vijay had to miss the tour of Sri Lanka due to recurrence of pain in his wrist which he got operated sometime back in London, and KL Rahul had stayed away from the first Test due to illness.

Dhawan made most of the opening, smashing rapid centuries in both first and the third Tests to clinch the award for the Man of the Series. In three Tests, Dhawan finished as the leading run-scorer with 358 runs at 89.50 with two centuries.

“Before the series, I was in Hong Kong enjoying my holiday. Unfortunately one of our openers was not fit so… I got my chance to come over here. Things went very well for me,” he said.

READ | India complete 3-0 clean sweep over Sri Lanka with innings win in Pallekele Test

When asked about his aggression while batting, Dhawan said, “Yeah, I got back-up from my management. I enjoy playing this way, it’s my natural game.”

Dhawan, who has grabbed his chances with booth the hands this tour, says that he cannot take his position in the team for granted. “See, I have to keep doing. (There is) nothing permanent, we have tight competition for all positions and that is a very good sign for Indian cricket, it keeps me on my toes.”

India registered their first-ever overseas clean sweep with this victory over Sri Lanka at Pallekele. A series which witnessed one-way traffic with the world No 1 team India pulverising Sri Lanka in all three matches with huge margins.

First Published: Aug 14, 2017 17:12 IST