India showed good fighting skills against Sri Lanka in the opening ODI here on Saturday and while there were several stand-out performances with the bat as well as with the ball, skipper MS Dhoni chose to specially credit Irfan Pathan.
Pathan claimed 2 wickets and had earlier smashed a boundary, coming in to bat late in the Indian innings. His seven runs took his side to 305 but it was his all-round ability that, according to Dhoni, helped India. "Zak bowled good but it was Irfan Pathan who played well. He lends a balance to the side which is very important in the absence of (Ravindra) Jadeja and Yuvraj (Singh)," he said in the post-match ceremony.
Irfan was the first to claim a wicket when Sri Lanka came out to bat. He caught Tillakaratne Dilshan in front of the stumps to send him walking back in the second over. The all-rounder later returned to remove Thisara Perrera who had smashed a six and three boundaries in his innings worth 44.
Earlier in the day, former Pakistan seamer Wasim Akram had also lauded Pathan and said he should be given more chances by the Indian selectors. (Read report here)