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

Hardik Pandya, who scored his maiden Test century in the Pallekele Test versus Sri Lanka, won praise from Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Aug 14, 2017 16:35 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pallekele
India vs Sri Lanka,Hardik Pandya,Virat Kohli
Hardik Pandya’s contribution with the bat and ball has already made him an asset in the Indian cricket team for both longer and shorter formats of the game. (Twitter)

Virat Kohli on Monday termed Hardik Pandya’s successful first outing in Test cricket as the ‘biggest positive’, after India hammered a lacklustre Sri Lanka by an innings and 171 runs to clinch the series 3-0. (HIGHLIGHTS | SCORECARD)

India remained unchallenged in the third Test of the series at the Pallekele International Stadium, a game which they managed to finish inside three days. India bowled out Sri Lanka for a mere 181, after they had imposed follow-on on the home side. Sri Lanka were dismissed for a mere 135 in their first innings.

India were able to assert their authority on this Test largely due to Hardik Pandya’s onslaught on the second day. The hosts had managed to reduce India’s advantage after their opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul added 188 runs.

Hardik Pandya celebrates after scoring a century during the second day of the third and final Test match between Sri Lanka and India at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Pallekele on August 13, 2017. (AFP)

Hardik Pandya created several records and went on to bring an 86-ball century, his first in Test cricket having made his debut earlier in the first Test at Galle. Pandya’s century pushed India’s total to a formidable 487, which in the end proved to me too much for Sri Lanka.

After India’s win, Kohli was quick to point out that the emergence of Pandya has been the biggest positive for India this series. “I think the regulars have performed the way they have been for the past two years. But I think the biggest positive would be Hardik’s inclusion, the way he shaped up in the first three Test matches,” Kohli said.

He added, “I think the kind of confidence he showed with the ball… and maturity with the bat as well. He really gives us the boost, a lot of balance as far as the composition of the side is concerned.”

India's captain Virat Kohli, second left, celebrates with teammates as they leave the ground after their win over Sri Lanka in the third cricket Test match in Pallekele, Sri Lanka, Monday, Aug. 14, 2017. India won the match by an innings and 171 runs. (AP)

Virat Kohli also recalled the individual performances over the last three Tests that helped India seal their first-ever 3-0 whitewash playing away from home.

“The usual suspects are always there… Jinks (Ajinkya Rahane) and Pujji (Cheteshwar Pujara) were magnificent. KL (Rahul) coming back, Abhinav (Mukund) grabbing his chances, spinners — both of them champion spinners — Kuldeep grabbed his opportunity, fast bowlers again doing their job so, we are very happy with the overall performance of the team but the biggest positive for me would be Hardik Pandya,” Virat Kohli added.

India and Sri Lanka will now be involved in a five-match ODI series starting August 20 at Dambulla.

First Published: Aug 14, 2017 15:53 IST