Pallekele: Irfan Pathan produced yet another match-winning performance as India beat Sri Lanka by 39 runs in the one-off Twenty20 International on Tuesday. Pathan said hard work has paid off for him.
The following are excerpts
Mahendra Singh Dhoni: Overall, we performed really well throughout the tour.
I thought it would be a high scoring game like the one-dayer which we played over here. But we slowed down a bit in the middle overs. The ball was swinging till the end, so it was not easy to slog. We thought we were 15 runs short.
But the bowlers bowled really well today. They bowled in the right areas… It was important to take wickets and they did their job. The fielding was also superb.
We are looking to play with four specialist bowlers… So the role of the part-timers are becoming crucial… I’m glad that the part-timers are performing.
The wickets have changed here. When I first came here the ball used to stop a lot. But now the pitches have been relaid. I think we mastered our bowling and batting better than them in the series.
Mahela Jayawardene: We’re making a lot of mistakes. We need to learn from them… When you come across a team like India, you need to ensure that you commit very few mistakes. We need to focus and need to come back strong. I thought a total of 150 was achievable. But we kept losing wickets at regular intervals and could not consolidate.
Irfan Pathan: Wickets at the top of the order always helps. Mahela (Jayawardene) was going great guns. So, it was important that we get some quick wickets to stem their run-flow.
It’s a big field… The ball was swinging out there… So we knew that if we could keep the ball in the right areas, we would get the wickets… And if we get wickets, it would be difficult for the Sri Lankan batsmen… I’m glad that we could do that.
I’m happy with my performance. I’ve been working on my bowling for the last one-and-a-half years… Our bowling consultant (Joe Dawes) has been keeping a good eye on us. Hard work has paid off for me.
Things are really working out well ... God has been kind... I want to take one match at a time and I hope to continue my good form.