A near-perfect game for us: Rohit

Rohit Sharma couldn’t have asked for a better start to his stint as India’s Test skipper. The innings and 222-run annihilation of Sri Lanka inside three days, in his own words, was a “near-perfect performance”

“I’ve been part of matches where performances have been of a similar kind,” Rohit said. “We’ve got big runs and wrapped up two innings of the opposition and won the game with an innings to spare. It was a near-perfect game for us.”

“We bowled well, we batted well, we took our chances on the field except one or two times. That is one thing where we need to sharpen up a little.”

Rohit was especially thrilled with Ravindra Jadeja’s match-winning, all-round performance. “To me, he is one of the top all-rounders [in the game]. Look at the performances. To score 175 not out and take nine wickets in the game, he’s just upping his game every time.”

“In the past, when we played in India, his contribution with the bat lower down the order and in picking those wickets were crucial. Now, he seems to be adding a lot more to his game.”

Crucial partnerships

Jadeja’s century partnerships with R. Ashwin and Mohammed Shami were crucial in India’s emphatic win. Rohit said building lower-order batting strength was long in the making, results of which are evident now.

“I clearly remember, it was back in 2015 when Virat took over as captain, we wanted to create a strong lower-order and build a strong foundation for that. We kept emphasising how important it was for all the bowlers to go out and bat in the nets. “

Best example

“The Lord’s Test match against England last year was the best example, where Shami and Bumrah had that huge partnership, which put us in a winning position.

Sri Lankan captain Dimuth Karunaratne has no such luxury, with even his top-order failing to fire. “We need to improve as a batting unit,” he said, at the post-match presentation.

“We were a bit too defensive, and at times we attacked. We need to be more serious, work the singles and rotate strike. That’s the only way to play a long innings.”

Karunaratne replied in the negative when asked if he had misread the pitch and picked three pacers.

“Since there were cracks, we thought the wicket would be up and down on days three and four and that’s why we picked three seamers. If we had bowled well, we could have done something. But we couldn’t.”

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