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Hardik Pandya is our biggest positive, says Virat Kohli after Sri Lanka sweep

India captain Virat Kohli praised Hardik Pandya for his all-round performance through the series and said the 23-year-old provides balance to the world number one Test side.
Written by: Subhasish Dutta New Delhi August 14, 2017 16:27 IST
Subhasish Dutta

India captain Virat Kohli on Monday termed all-rounder Hardik Pandya's inclusion in the Test side was the biggest positive for India in their historic 3-0 whitewash over Sri Lanka.

India completed a clean sweep over Sri Lanka on Monday with an innings victory inside three days in the third Test. Spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took four wickets and seamer Mohammed Shami three as India bowled Sri Lanka out for 181 in their second innings, sealing victory by an innings and 171 runs.

India made 487 batting first at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium and Sri Lanka collapsed in both innings to be out for 135 and then 181 after following on.

India's big first-innings total was built on centuries by opener Shikhar Dhawan (119) and Hardik Pandya (108).

India, the top-ranked team in Test cricket, were dominant throughout the series, winning the first two matches by 304 runs and an innings and 53 runs in Galle and Colombo, respectively.

Kohli praised Pandya for his all-round effort through the series and said the 23-year-old provides balance to the world number one Test side. 

"It is a good win for us. Very happy with the overall performance. Always feels nice to have convincing wins, pretty good day for us. The regulars have performed, but the biggest positive would be Hardik Pandya's inclusion and the way he shaped up in these three Test matches," Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

In the three Tests, Pandya amassed 178 runs with an average of 59.33, including a hundred and a fifty. The Baroda youngster, who plays for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League, also bagged 4 wickets in the series.

"The kind of confidence he showed the with the ball and the maturity with the bat, it really gives us a lot of boost and the balance," Kohli added.

This is also the 8th consecutive Test series victories for skipper Kohli and India's second in Sri Lanka in two years (2015 and 2017). India have now managed to win their last five Tests in Sri Lanka. 

The Indian captain said his team would like to be ruthless in their approach and maintain the same tempo. 

"We are a young side, we look forward to playing Test cricket, we look forward to playing every single Test match with the same kind of excitement and that is the only way you can be ruthless. We like to be prepared before hand and be proactive rather than being reactive. We have age on our side and we have an opportunity to play together for five, six years for the country," he said.

All of them are super talented players (talking about the Sri Lankan team), that is why they are playing for the country. They beat Australia 3-0. Sometimes the side has momentum, sometimes they don't. It's all about keeping the belief going and not losing motivation because of a few results. That is what we believe in as a team as well."

India vs Sri Lanka 3rd Test, Day 3 Match Report.