Pallekele: Hardik Pandya's performance in his debut Test series was the biggest positive of the three- match rubber against Sri Lanka, said Indian captain Virat Kohli after completing a 3-0 whitewash of the hosts on Monday.
"The regulars have performed, but the biggest positive would be Hardik's inclusion and the way he shaped up in these three Test matches," said Kohli at the post-match presentation India won the third Test by an innings and 171 runs. "The kind of confidence he showed with the ball and the maturity with the bat, it really gives us a lot of boost and the balance," said Kohli. Pandya smashed a 96-ball 108 on Sunday for his maiden international century, helping India post 487 in the first innings. Besides a hundred and fifty in his debut Test series, Pandya picked up four wickets.
Though India won the series with ease, Kohli gave due respect to their opponents. "We are a young side, we look forward to play Test cricket, we look forward to play every single Test match with the same kind of excitement and that is the only way you can be ruthless," he said. "We like to be prepared before hand and be proactive rather than being reactive. We have age on our side and we have an opportunity to play together for five, six years for the country." On the Sri Lanka's performance in the series, he added: "All of them are super talented players, that is why they are playing for the country. They beat Australia 3-0. Sometimes the side has momentum, sometimes they don't. It's all about keeping the belief going and not losing motivation because of a few results. That is what we believe in as a team as well."
Sri Lankan captain Dinesh Chandimal had no qualms in saying that his team's performance was below par. "This was a tough series for us. Credit to India for playing outstanding cricket throughout the series. Our batting and bowling was below par. We need to stand up as a team," said Chandimal. "We have to be patient and concentrate harder (when batting or bowling). If we can do that, I am sure we will do as a team and comeback stronger for the Pakistan series," he added.
This is the first time that an Indian Test team has won all the matches in a series outside India.