Hanuma Vihari on Friday said he was ready to contribute to the team in any way he could, but the 28-year-old said he’d rather bat 3rd. Vihari hit a fifty in his first game while beating 3rd-ranked Cheteshwar as a substitute Pujara for the first test between India and Sri Lanka in Mohali.
Vihari looked solid as he hit 58 balls from 128 balls, stitching a crucial 90-run stand with Virat Kohli in the latter’s 100th Test. It was only Vihari’s 2nd innings in a test game at home, but the Hyderabad batsman jumped at the opportunity to bat at number 3 with both hands.
Viharii had warmed up last month in their 2022 Ranji Trophy match at a hundred and fifty for Hyderabad against Chandigarh for the opener of the series against Sri Lanka.
India vs Sri Lanka, Day 1 Test 1: Report | highlights
“I felt good going into the middle. I was batting well and had good preparation. A great opportunity to beat third place for India. I’m happy to hit wherever the team see me want to have, but my favorite position is number three, I made it in top-flight cricket,” said Vihari.
“Initially I thought the ball hit the racquet well. But as the ball got old it was difficult to time the ball well.”
There was a tussle for third place as Vihari and Shubman Gill were touted to replace Pujara, who was dropped from the Test squad for the Sri Lanka series. However, Vihari received the nod to bat at No. 3 while Shreyas Iyer played at No. 5 after Ajinkya Rahane was also eliminated.
Sunil Gavaskar had heaped high praise on Vihari earlier in the day, saying he looked composed and brought a sense of calm to the dressing room when he was in the middle. Gavaskar compared Vihari to Pujara after his 58 in the first innings.
“He brought the same sense of calm to the Indian dressing room that Pujara used to have. When Pujara was at the crease, it was easy to breathe. They knew one end was going to be tight,” Gavaskar told Star Sports.
“He was very impressive. Look at the straightness of the racquet. Most of the runs came from the full face of the racquet. Not once would the dressing room have felt any nervousness because of the way he was hitting. He looked so good.
“Look at the time it takes him to get into position. Very impressive. He was impressive in South Africa, where the pitches were far more difficult. he added.