"Winning is a good habit," said skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni after India beat Sri Lanka by five wickets in an ICC Champions Trophy warm-up match at Edgbaston here on Saturday. Chasing 334 for a win, India won with six balls to spare but only after Virat Kohli (144) and Dinesh Karthik (106 not out) rescued the team from 110 for four in the 21st over.
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Dhoni was full of praise for the character shown by Kohli and Karthik. "There was not much batting left after me but the way Kohli and Karthik played, it was good to see the middle-order handle a pressure situation well," Dhoni said in a post-match chat. (See: match in pics)
Saying the fast bowlers needed to improve, Dhoni said a victory was always important. The Indian skipper will now face a problem of plenty in the middle-order after Karthik's 81-ball century. "He has really done himself a world of good. His century will boost his morale and whenever he gets a chance, he should prove himself again," Dhoni said of Karthik, who is not sure to figure in the playing XI when India play their first match versus South Africa at Cardiff on June 6. (Also read: Blog - Sidhuisms don't work at Heathrow immigration)
But the man who turned the game on his head was Kohli. This was his fifth century against Sri Lanka and rival skipper Angelo Mathews admitted that the Delhi batsman has a special liking for the Lankan bowling. "We tried a few things today but not upset with the result. We have to work out a few things," Mathews said. India and Sri Lanka are on different groups in the tournament.