Galle : Following the massive 304-run win in the opening Test against Sri Lanka, India skipper Virat Kohli on Saturday heaped praise on the opening duo of Shikhar Dhawan and Abhinav Mukund, who weren’t part of the first choice squad for the tour.
Dhawan, who smashed a swashbuckling 190 off 168 balls to set the tone for India’s massive first innings score of 600, joined the team as a replacement for injured Murali Vijay.
Mukund, who scored 81 runs in the second essay was included after regular opener Lokesh Rahul was down with viral fever following the warm-up match against the Sri Lanka Board President’s XI.
Terming the opening conundrum as a “happy headache”, Kohli hailed the openers saying: “The opening competition is a happy headache. It felt nice that it came off nicely. Abhinav batted well and he deserved a hundred.”
The 28-year-old Kohli, who on Saturday fired a 136-ball unbeaten 103 to bring up his 17th Test ton and surpass former India skipper Sourav Ganguly’s haul of 16 Test hundreds, expressed his relief at the team starting the tour with a “clinical” win.
“We lost a Test we should have won in 2015. This time it was a clinical performance two years down the line. Really happy with the way things went in this Test.
“The surface did not offer much, and that’s why the win is special. It’s an example of the skill they possess, and persistent pressure always pays,” he said.
Dhawan, who was adjudged the Man of the Match said: “I really enjoyed batting over here. I just watched the ball and backed my game. There is a very healthy competition from the opening spot in the side, and it keeps me on my toes.”
Home skipper Rangana Herath, who failed to contribute in their second essay after injuring his finger on Friday, also lauded the efforts of the visitors after the tie.
“It is a pretty good wicket, and the toss was not a factor. Credit to the India team, and we need improvement in all three departments. Asela’s loss is huge,” he said.
Asked about his injury status, the 39-year-old left-arm spinner said: “The finger is getting better. There is nothing on the scan, and I am sure it will get better.”
With the win, India have now taken a 1-0 lead in the three-match Test series. They will next play the hosts in the second Test, starting August 3 in Colombo. –IANS on Saturday