Dambulla: Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Sunday conceded that 300 was a big total to chase on a sporting pitch but felt his batsmen failed to apply themselves after getting starts by most of them in the tri-series summit clash against Sri Lanka here.
"Of course 300 was a stiff target, especially on a sporting pitch like at Dambulla. But the game could have been close had we applied. Most of our batsmen got the start but did not spend enough time in the middle. If we had batsmen to bat all the overs the match would have been a close one," Dhoni said while addressing the post-match press conference.
"But credit to Sri Lanka they batted and bowled well. They played better cricket than us today," added Dhoni whose sequence of four consecutive series triumphs on Sri Lankan soil ended with his side's 74-run loss today. The younger batsmen in the team failed to perform but Dhoni saw positives from the series, saying they must have learnt a lot from the tournament.
"It is a learning curve for the youngsters. Most of them have not played on such conditions often. I am sure they must have learnt a lot from this tournament. That is the positive aspect from this tournament for the team," he said. Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara said his side batted and bowled well today.
"It was an all-round performance today. We batted and bowled well. (Tillakaratne) Dilshan and (Thisara) Perera were outstanding," he said. Man-of-the-Match Dilshan said he was happy to have helped his side win with a big score.
"I have been doing well in the series. The only thing was that I was not being able to convert on the starts. I got a hundred today and that helped for the team cause. I am happy," he said.
Asked about Sri Lanka Cricket docking his entire match fee after the Suraj Randiv no-ball incident against India in a league match, Dilshan said he wanted to forget it. "I don't want any controversy. I want to forget it," said Dilshan. PTI