'Still some areas to improve upon'

'Still some areas to improve upon'

 While saying that he was “very happy” with India’s performance in the first Test, which they won by 304 runs to go one-up in the three-match series against Sri Lanka, Virat Kohli maintained that there were still some areas to improve upon.

“Yeah, we would like to think so,” the skipper said when asked if he thought India had ticked all boxes. “There are still some areas that we want to look back and try to improve upon; especially when you get four-five wickets and not letting the lower order get away with the few runs in the latter half of the innings.

It’s something that we can still identify and work on in the next two games as well. But all in all, I think, playing Test cricket – February is the last when we last played Test cricket – and from then having played so much one-day cricket and not having the time to prepare so much in between… I think from that point of view it was good to get back into the groove and do things that are supposed to be done to win a Test match,” he offered.

Notwithstanding the margin of win, Kohli admitted that the bowlers had to toil hard to achieve the win because of the nature of the surface. 

“Yes, the last time when we played here the surface offered much more to the bowlers,” Kohli pointed out. “It kept the bowlers in the game throughout, the quicks and the spinners more so. This time around, the wicket was really good to bat on; even till today. I mean if you applied yourself, you could easily score runs on that surface. So, yeah, we had to work hard to get all the wickets that we did. I think the bowlers came up with different plans, persisted long enough to get those breakthroughs,” he reasoned.

Kohli was also effusive in his praise of all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who struck a breezy half-century and then took a wicket in Lanka’s first innings. The captain even went to the extent of saying that the Baroda player had the capability to become someone like Ben Stokes. 

“At home it has been different but when you play away from home, one guy gives you a lot of balance and I think Hardik can be that guy going ahead, specially playing so much cricket away from home. If he grows in confidence – you see someone like Ben Stokes, what he does for England – he brings in great balance as an all-rounder. I see no reason why Hardik Pandya can’t become that for India,” he opined.

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