Dhoni proud of Kohli and Gambhir
Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni pinpointed the fine form of Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli and the consistent use of part-time bowlers as the key reasons behind India's four-one ODI series win over Sri Lanka.
Centuries from Kohli were at the fore of victory in games one and four, while Gambhir orchestrated 102 and 88 in fixtures three an five.
Meanwhile, the regular use of Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Suresh Raina and Virender Sehwag's occasional spin went a long way in trumping the opposition across low, slow pitches.
"The fact that one of the batsmen carried on to make a big score in most of the games made it easy, and if you are playing with part-time bowlers on this pitch, they're good and you need those extra runs," said Dhoni.
A brisk 77-run stand for seventh wicket between wicketkeeper-batsman Dhoni and all-rounder Irfan Pathan proved key in a final total of 294 for seven in the fifth and final match in Pallekele on Saturday. Sri Lanka's reply, initially promising, was ultimately futile as they fell to 274 all out to conclude a 20-run defeat.
"We knew that in the second half of the innings, it would get easier to bat. Most of the Sri Lankan grounds are quite big. It's advisable not to look for the big shots. You can still find the boundaries. Irfan and I played safe, tried to get to 300," added Dhoni.
Pathan was declared Man of the Match for his unbeaten 29-run cameo, which the left-arm seamer followed with a haul of five for 61 to secure the nation's first ODI five-for since that of Yuvraj Singh against Ireland at last year's World Cup.
"My performance with the bat helped my confidence," acknowledged Pathan." It's a good feeling. I enjoyed the challenge from the start."
The tour will end with a one-off Twenty20 International at the same venue on Tuesday.