‘India responded like champions’

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‘India responded like champions’

Thursday, 22 July 2021 | PTI | Colombo

‘India responded like champions’

With its back to the wall, Team India responded like champions, said coach Rahul Dravid in an inspiring dressing room speech after his young side registered a series-clinching win in the second ODI against Sri Lanka here.

Chasing 276 for victory on Tuesday, India were reduced to 193 for seven in 36th over but Deepak Chahar (69) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (19) shared an unbroken 84-run stand to take the visitors home with three wickets in hand and five balls to spare.

“Obviously we finished on the right side of the result, which is incredible and fantastic but even if we didn’t finish on the right side of the result, it is the fight all the way through was absolutely brilliant, so well done to all of you,” Dravid said in a video posted on bcci.tv.

“We said they were going to respond, we knew we had to respect the opposition. The opposition was going to respond, they’re also an international team. They responded, and we responded back like a champion team.

“With our back to the wall, we found a way to break them. So really well done to all of you. Fantastic job.”

Bhuvneshwar (3/54) and Yuzvendra Chahal (3/50) snared three wickets each, while Chahar claimed two to restrict Sri Lanka to 275 for nine.

India found the going tough with Suryakumar Yadav anchoring the chase with a 44-ball 53 but once he was gone, the visitors slipped to 193 for seven.

However, Chahar smashed his maiden ODI fifty and in the company of Bhuvneshwar took the team home.

“It is not the right time to talk about individuals at this point, obviously there were some fantastic individual performances, especially towards the end,” said Dravid.

“We had talked about that, we acknowledge and recognise every player’s contribution in this game. If you look at the whole game, there were some very good team performances.

“So many good performances in our bowling, batting, even at the start, fantastic team performances from all of you.”

The video also featured Suryakumar, Bhuvneshwar, and Chahar talking about their experience about the match.

“I don’t have words, I think it is one of the best games which I have been part of, I have seen Live... It is an unbelievable victory,” Suryakumar said.

“Bhuvi, our vintage man and DC, we have been talking about his batting, and today he has proved himself, it was a complete team effort. It was something special from Deepak Chahar.”

forgotten how to win

Legendary spinner Muthiah Muralitharan feels the current Sri Lankan cricket team has forgotten how to win matches over the years, insisting that the sport is currently going through a tough phase in the island nation.

“I told you before, Sri Lanka didn’t know the winning ways, they have forgotten the winning ways for the last so many years. It has been tough for them because they have not (known) how to win a match,” Muralitharan told ESPNCricinfo.

Leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga had claimed three wickets to leave India struggling at 193 for seven in 35.1 overs but Sri Lanka skipper Shanaka made big mistake by keeping him for the final overs.

“I have told you before if Sri Lanka takes three wickets in first 10-15 overs, India is going to struggle and actually India struggled. Big effort from (Deepak) Chahar and Bhuvneshwar (Kumar) made them win.

“And also they (Sri Lanka) made some mistakes. They should have bowled Wanindu Hasaranga, rather than keeping him, they should have bowled him and try to take a wicket,” he said.

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