We rely on our openers: Dhoni
Mirpur, Mar 13: India won their first match of the Asia Cup, against Sri Lanka, by 50 runs powered by twin centuries from Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli’s. After the defending champions set up a formidable target of 305 for the opposition, Irfan Pathan helped bowl Lanka out for 254 with an impressive four-for.
In the post-match media interaction, skipper MS Dhoni lauded his team’s performance while saying there was room for improvement.
On the situation when Mahela Jayawardene was batting
It was difficult at that point of time; Mahela was batting really well. The wicket changed a bit. The ball was coming on nicely to the bat so the batsmen were able to play the big strokes, especially with the new ball. Also, Praveen [Kumar] had an off day, he was expensive in the first three overs, and then they went after [Ravindra] Jadeja which meant that, at that point of time, I was two bowlers short. So it was important to get the part-timers in but at the same time it was important not to let them score runs freely, so it was difficult to manage. I used maybe seven bowlers, if I am not wrong. It was difficult, but Praveen came back nicely and bowled well and he was well supported by Irfan Pathan and Vinay [Kumar] also bowled really well. Overall, I am quite happy with the performance but we need to get consistent.
On the partnership at the top of the order
We are a side that relies a lot on the opening partnership. If not the openers, the top three or four bat really well, [that helps]. Gautam [Gambhir] batted really well and sensibly, which is important, and Virat [Kohli] also supported him. They ran between the wickets well and in the first 50-run partnership or the 75-run partnership there were not many boundaries, so it was difficult. But it was good that they stayed there till the end and gave us a platform where [Suresh] Raina and I could go in and look to score runs.
On the pitch and the outfield
It’s a difficult one. If you lose the toss and are bowling second, it is slightly difficult to defend because the outfield is really fast, the ball starts to come on nicely on to the bat and it becomes difficult [to restrict the batsman]. The bowlers have to be at their best. If you are one or two bowlers short, it becomes really difficult. As the tournament progresses, maybe you’ll play more games on the same wicket, it will get slower and hopefully won’t be as good to bat on in the second inning as it is right now.
On this being an important win
It is. Even in Australia we had done decently well against [Sri Lanka]. We lost one game against them and won two and there was a tie, so it’s not like we have been playing badly against them. But these are different conditions and some of their big players were missing in this game. [Lasith] Malinga was not there and neither was [Angelo] Mathews. [Missing key players] affects the stability of a side. But overall I am quite happy with the performance of our [team].