Iyer had big shoes to fill but he has done well, says Indian skipper Rohit Sharma

Shreyas Iyer, who replaced Rahane in the eleven, scored a fine 92 and 67 in a low-scoring game



India's Shreyas Iyer celebrates after scoring a half-century (50 runs) during the first day of the second Test cricket match between India and Sri Lanka at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on March 12, 2022. Photo: AFP
India's Shreyas Iyer celebrates after scoring a half-century (50 runs) during the first day of the second Test cricket match between India and Sri Lanka at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on March 12, 2022. Photo: AFP

By PTI

Published: Mon 14 Mar 2022, 8:21 PM

India captain Rohit Sharma on Monday said Shreyas Iyer had big shoes to fill following the axing of stalwarts like Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane but he grabbed the opportunity with both hands in the Test series against Sri Lanka and will only get better with more opportunities.

India swept the two-match series against the islanders 2-0 on Monday with a 238-run win in the second Test in Bangalore.

Iyer, who replaced Rahane in the eleven, scored a fine 92 and 67 in a low-scoring game. Hanuma Vihari replaced Pujara at number three.

Other star performers of the series were Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin. Rohit said he is mighty pleased with what they brought to the table.

“It’s been a good run, and I have enjoyed it personally and as a team. We wanted to achieve a few things as a team, and we have done that,” said Rohit, who led India for the first time in Tests.

On the individual performances, he said, “We have seen Jadeja grow as a batter, and he seems to get better and better. He strengthens the team, and he’s also improving as a bowler. And he’s a gun fielder, so he is a complete package.

“Shreyas just carried on from where he left off in the T20 series against Sri Lanka. He seemed to carry that form into the Test series.

“He knew he was stepping into the big shoes of guys like Rahane and Pujara, but he has everything that he requires. He will be better now when he starts travelling.

“Rishabh seems to get better with each game that he plays. Especially in these conditions. We saw it in the England series (last year) and now. A couple of catches and stumpings showed how confident he is.”

Ashwin became the first bowler to take 100 wickets in the World Test Championship and Rohit said the seasoned performer has delivered every time the ball has been thrown at him.

“(On Ashwin) It was personally my feeling (that he is an all-time great). Whenever we give him the ball, he comes up with match-winning performances. He’s got a lot of years left in him. We have lots of occasions to look forward to.

“I have to ensure he’s in a good mind space. Pink-ball Tests are challenging. We never knew what it was like to play with the pink ball in India, but we are learning to make those adjustments. The crowd just makes it more special,” said Rohit.

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Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne scored a fine hundred on Monday but his team failed to compete in the two-match series. He acknowledged the shortcomings.

“I would have been happier if we had won the match. Once I got in, I knew I could get a big one. As a team, we know we are a decent team. We didn’t get enough good starts to capitalise. And as a bowling unit, we gave too many loose balls,” Karunaratne said.

“(On Suranga Lakmal) One of the best I have see in my career. I am very happy for him that he’s going to county cricket and I know he will do very well there as well.”

Player of the Series Pant added: “As a cricketer you want to evolve. In the past, I have made a few mistakes, but I want to keep improving...it was a difficult pitch and I decided I had to attack the bowling early on.

Pant said his keeping is also improving thanks to his growing confidence.

“I think it’s more about confidence. I used to think too much about what I might miss. Now I am focusing on my process.”


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