‘Dilshan is in form, it’s difficult for any bowlers to stop runs from him. When Dilshan was batting the run-rate was well about 10-12 runs but Ashish Nehra gave the breakthrough. After his dismissal the run rate dipped,’ Sehwag said at the post-match press conference.
Sehwag was all praise for his bowlers who brought the home side back after the Sri Lankans looked like scoring 300-plus at one stage. ‘Nehra’s experience worked. He conceded just 32 runs from his six-odd overs in the middle to ensure that we remained in the game which at one stage I thought they would score 300-400.
I think Jadeja and Harbhajan bowled really well and Ishant Sharma came up with a very good three overs taking two wickets in two balls,’ Sehwag said.
‘Especially Jadeja was very impressive, that was the reason we could restrict them under 250. I am very impressed with Jadeja who bowled his 10 overs conceding just 32 runs and claiming four wickets. It’s a dream thing for a captain.
‘Sri Lanka got a good start but we came back taking seven wickets 20th to 35th overs which was crucial. All credit to Jadeja,’ said Sehwag, adding he had to bowl in between as the home side were India running three overs slow.
Sehwag, however, defended his new ball bowlers Zaheer Khan and Ishant, both of whom had a poor start as Dilshan and Upul Tharanga were batting with disdain.
‘It’s very difficult for fast bowlers to contain the batsmen. We are batting and they too are batting well. I told them to bowl in good areas so we can restrict them under 300 and then Dilshan got out.’
Asked about the restrained knock from Sachin Tendulkar who hit the winning runs remaining unbeaten on 96, Sehwag said, ‘He is playing for over 20 years, he knows how to get runs as per the situation. He is the best player and batted as the situation demanded that’s how we won the game.’
On the Indian fielding, he said, ‘I think we did better on the field today. When Robin Singh was there we would drop catches missed fielding also. But he was very good in practice and drills but it’s not in our hands whom to retain or not.’
When asked whether Yuvraj Singh was yet to recover fully as he was fielding on the boundary instead of his normal place at the point, Sehwag said, ‘Yuvraj himself is the best to answer this.
Sehwag lavished praise on Jadeja, who produced his career-best 4 for 32, for turning the game in favour of India. ‘When Jadeja took over, the game changed a lot and he bowled really well. He brought us back into the game after the Lankans were going great guns. He also bowled economically giving away just 32 runs from his 10 overs and took four wickets,’ said the Delhi dasher.
He also gave credit to his batsmen for capitalising on the good show by the bowlers and praised Tendulkar in particular. Man-of-the-match Jadeja described his performance as his best so far and hoped to carry on the fine form in the next two games also.
‘This is the best performance of mine. I took four wickets and maintained good line and length and bowled wicket-to-wicket,’ Jadeja said. He said he got a lot of help from the wicket while bowling which helped him keep the ball slow and low.
‘When I was given the ball, only one thing was in my mind, to keep it straight and wicket-to-wicket to build pressure on Lankans. I did just that and enjoyed my bowling.’
Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara said his side lost the momentum in the middle overs when Jadeja took over the bowling and failed to build partnerships to put a defendable total on the board.
‘We were going well at 165 for one, but then Jadeja came in and we lost the momentum. We lost too many wickets in quick succession and failed to build partnerships that eventually did us in,’ Sangakkara said.
The Sri Lankan skipper also said that his fast bowlers failed to take wickets with the new ball and did not shape up well to defend the total. ‘We need to take wickets with the new ball, but that just did not happen. We know that there were not enough runs on the board, and to win the game, we need to take wickets.
‘However, our bowlers gave their best and worked hard. Lasith Malinga was good, but in the end the total was not enough,’ Sangakkara said. batsmen fail to understand their responsibilities: Sangakkara
Sangakkara blamed his batsmen for the loss and said they need to understand their responsibilities of converting a good start into a big total. He described the absence of all-rounder Angelo Matthews, who had to pull out of the five-match series after straining his quadriceps in Nagpur ODI, as a big loss for the side.
He praised Indian stand-in skipper Virender Sehwag for leading the home team beautifully in the absence of regular skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who has been banned for maintaining slow over-rate in the Nagpur ODI.
‘I think he captained really well. He kept his cool on the field and his no-nonsense approach to batting was good for India today,’ Sangakkara said.