'Dhoni told me to bat like I do in Test cricket'
Pallekele: Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who played a crucial role along with Mahendra Singh Dhoni in rescuing India after a startling collapse in the second ODI, says the former captain advised him to build his knock like he does in Tests.
Bhuvneshwar scored 53 and raised a 100-run partnership with Dhoni for the unbeaten eight wicket to guide India to a three-wicket win over the hosts on Thursday night.
"When I went in to bat, MS told me to play my natural game like I play in Test cricket and don't take any pressure as we had a lot of overs at that time. We knew if we played them out we would chase easily," Bhuvneshwar said at the post match press conference.
"I knew there is nothing to lose in this situation as we were already seven down. I was just thinking that I can play and that I have to support MS as much as I can. And that s what I tried to do," he said.
Lankan off-spinner Akila Dananjaya took six for 54, his maiden ODI five-wicket haul, to trigger Indian middle order collapse after an aggressive start from Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan.
"It was a little surprising because we had a very good opening partnership. Then 3-4 wickets fell quickly so it was a bit of a panic situation for us. There was no message as such from the dressing room or MS Dhoni. The only thing was they wanted me to play as long as possible. I also wanted to do the same thing because that was the only chance to win if I could play all those 47 overs.That was my plan," Bhuvneshwar said. Asked how he countered Dananjaya, who was on fire, Bhuvneshwar said: "I had a plan against him."
"He is an off-spinner but he was also bowling leg spinners and googlies so it was a surprise for us. I just wanted to play him for the wrong one or the googlies, which he was bringing in to me. And whatever was going away from me I wasn t really worried about that. Whatever wickets he took that was on the googly, the incoming delivery, so my plan was to counter his incoming deliveries. Initially it was a bit difficult to read him from the hand but later on when I played him for 10-15 balls I could read his variations," he explained.