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Asia Cup morale booster before Test series: Dhoni

Dambulla: Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni heaped praised on his team-mates for their all-round show in the 81-run crushing of Sri Lanka to clinch Asia Cup title and said it would boost their morale ahead of the Test series against the same opponents next month.

"Both batsmen and bowlers performed to their best. It was a team effort and ideal performance before the Test series. There was a bit of pressure on us before the start of the big game. We have to perform well and that`s what we did," Dhoni said after the match.

"The batsmen did well to score a competitive total and then bowlers restricted the Sri Lankans way before the winning mark. We want Dilshan to get out early as we know if he stays for 3-4 overs, he will score 30-40 score runs and take the game away from your reach. But Zaheer and Nehra produced great opening spells," Dhoni added.

On his performance behind the stumps, accounting for five victims including a stumping, which was a record for the Asia Cup, Dhoni said all credit goes to his bowlers for bowling wicket-taking deliveries.

"Thanks to bowlers. Hope to get more from then in the future ahead," he said.

A disappointed Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara said that they were outplayed by India in every department and the match went out of their hands in the first 15 overs of their run chase.

"First 15 overs did us in. We lost four top-order batsmen which was not the great way to start the proceedings. 268 was a chaseable target as India had earlier done so against Pakistan, but Indian bowlers produced attacking line and length to knock us out.”

"We could not build good partnerships after that. We are now looking forward to perform well at the three-match Test series," Sangakkara said.

Man-of-the-match Dinesh Karthik, who struck a fighting half-century (66), said that he proved selectors` decision right to call him up in place of injured Virender Sehwag.

"I am happy with my performance. I was called in place of Sehwag and I performed my bit. Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli supported me well to build on a good innings. Hope to continue with good show ahead," he said.

PTI

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