Galle: Popular perceptions do not perturb him, which is the reason why India skipper Virat Kohli does not believe in counting the number of innings in which he had a dry run.
Kohli, in his last Test series against Australia, had an indifferent run but was back in his element in the first Test against Sri Lanka, scoring his 17th Test hundred in only his 58th match.
"I wasn't looking at things from people's point of view. I think people on the outside start counting the number of innings when a batsman doesn't score well. But for us as batsmen or anyone playing in the eleven, it's about what the team wants in that particular situation," said Kohli at the post match press conference after India thrashed Sri Lanka by 304 runs in the first Test here.
"I think the second innings required us to play a bit more positively and I am glad I was able to do that along with Abhinav Mukund. It helped to get us enough time to get the opposition out and put enough runs on the board for us to feel comfortable.
"I mean I certainly wasn't looking at how many innings I haven't scored, because when you are playing all formats you are not thinking which format you have not scored runs in how many innings.
You cannot utilise so much energy in that but it always feels good to score runs especially when the team wins," Kohli, who scored 103 not out, added. Kohli though felt that his team came up with a "clinical performance", he said there was still room for improvement.
"Yes, we would like to think we ticked all the boxes with this win. There are still some areas that we can look back and try to improve on. Especially when you get 4-5 wickets, we need to not let the lower order get away with a few runs in the latter half of the innings.
It is something that we can identify and work on in the next two games as well. "All in all, playing Test cricket after February when we played last, from then having played so much one-day cricket and not having the time to prepare so much in between I think it was good to get back in the groove and do the things that are supposed to be done to win a Test match," said Kohli.
"From that point of view I would say that we had a pretty good game. As I mentioned we always look for things that we can still improve on, but very happy with the first game."
Kohli expressed pleasure that his team had become adept at the art of winning Test matches on flat tracks.
"The last time when we played here on this surface, it offered much more to the bowlers. It kept the bowlers in the game throughout, both the quicks and the spinners more so.
This time it was good to bat on even till today, and if you applied yourselves well you could easily score runs on this.
"So we had to work hard to get all the wickets that we did. I think the bowlers came up with different plans and they persisted long enough to get those breakthroughs. That is something that always helps at the beginning of the series if you get a victory like that on a surface that is not offering much," explained the skipper.
Kohli said his bowlers have become more confident in their own abilities because of the way they have performed consistently in the last two years. "Plus they know what they have to do on the pitch to get people out now which is the most important factor. Especially in Test matches, if you are not getting wickets, then how to contain runs or how to create opportunities to get wickets.
"Even batsmen have become smarter now. You don't need to necessarily tell someone how to bat or how to plan an innings. They understand, they prepare themselves really well, so guys have become more professional in the last two years and they understand how Test matches are won. That understanding of the game is something that has come a long way in the last three years," he said....