Man of the Series says the last 10-12 months taught him about toughness required in longer format
Colombo: Man of the series Ravichandran Ashwin yesterday said that he has focussed more on Test cricket during the last one year as he has come to terms with the fact that longer format is no "child's play".
"The last 10-12 months I have been more focused on Test cricket. I came to terms with the fact that Test cricket is no child's play. I wanted to be serious about every aspect of the game and be as focused as possible," Ashwin said at the post series media conference.
India defeated Sri Lanka by 117 runs in the third and final Test in Colombo yesterday to win a series on the island for the first time since 1993. Sri Lanka, set a victory target of 386, were bowled out for 268 after tea on the fifth day despite a fighting 110 from skipper Angelo Mathews. Mathews and debutant Kusal Perera put on 135 for the sixth wicket, but the dismissal of both batsmen on either side of tea sealed Sri Lanka's fate at the Sinhalese Sports Club.
Ashwin got 21 wickets in the series and the icing on the cake was a half-century in the Indian second innings on Monday. "Before the series, I was just looking to be at the best I could be. Everyday of this particular series, I wanted to be in that particular rhythm that I was on the first day in Galle. The rhythm was one thing I wanted to get all through the series.
"Every game, there was a spell in which I got into a perfect rhythm," Ashwin looked back at the past one month with a lot of satisfaction. On the final day's proceedings, Ashwin conceded that they had to play the waiting game for a certain period of time when Kusal Perera and Angelo Mathews added 145 runs for the fifth wicket.
Virat Kohli and his teammates celebrate winning the final Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo yesterday. Pic/Solaris Images
"The ball got really soft and it stopped swinging for the fast bowlers as well. We identified the fact that we needed to keep the runs in check and also keep things quiet so that when one wicket fell, we could really capitalise on it," said Ashwin.
"Even before the game, we had identified this as the phase where runs would go. We were always stacking it up for the second new ball to come, so we were really prepared to take the game as deep as possible and that's what Test cricket is all about. I think we as a unit stuck to it pretty well," he added.