Ahmedabad: After guiding India to a comprehensive six-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the second One-Day International here, man-of-the-match Ambati Rayudu said he was happy to fulfill the role given to him by the team management.
"When we play for India, whatever role the team gives us, I am happy to fulfill them. I am happy to fulfill the role given to me. It's all about roles of each individual, more than landmarks like 50s and 100s," said Rayudu, who struck his maiden century, a brilliant unbeaten 121, in his 21st ODI last evening at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera last evening.
Rayudu was promoted to No. 3 position in the batting order from his usual slot of 5 or 6 and he grabbed the chance with both hands after the early fall of opener Ajinkya Rahane to steer India through.
He said everyone in the team is prepared to go and bat at any position.
"Everyone is prepared to go in at any order. I got the opportunity today and I am happy. We all were ready," Rayudu said when asked at what time he was told about his promotion in the batting order.
The 29-year-old Guntur-born player, whose career has seen many ups and downs, also got involved in two century partnerships - 122 runs in 121 balls with Shikhar Dhawan (79) and 116 in 98 balls with captain Virat Kohli (49) - to seal the comfortable six-wicket win and power India to a 2-0 lead in the five-game series.
"I am definitely happy that I got a hundred, but for me personally this figure does not matter as much as the team winning and I am happy to see it through," said Rayudu whose previous highest score was 64 not out scored in Nottingham against England in August this year.
Rayudu and Dhawan, who came into this game after scoring a hundred in the series opener at Cuttack, paced their innings to perfection to enable India chased down the target of 274 set by Sri Lanka well inside the 50 overs.
Rayudu, who also took two catches in the deep and also effected a run out in the Sri Lankan innings earlier in the day, insisted that the whole idea was to bat through the innings after the early loss of Rahane.
"I was just trying to bat through the innings, get the chase going and construct an innings so that the chase becomes easier. Basically I was just looking to stay (at the wicket) more than playing shots; was just trying to rotate and see the team through.
"We (he and Dhawan) were just looking to get a partnership going after losing an early wicket. We were picking and choosing our shots and moments. It was not really planned. We were motivated to see the team through," he said.
He also did not agree with the suggestion that the visiting Islanders were a weak team.
"They are a very good side and have won the T20 World Cup. They are a brilliant ODI side and you cannot write them off by looking at this performance," he retorted.
Visiting team skipper Angelo Mathews, who scored an unbeaten 92 to pull his side from a difficult 64 for three to a competitive total, said he would have been happier had he scored much less while ending up on the winning side.
"I would have been happier to have scored 60 and our team winning the match. Unfortunately we ended on the losing side," he said.
Mathews, while complimenting the Indian batsmen, said his team had to make significant improvements in all three departments of the game in the remaining part of the series.
"I tried all our bowlers to try and get wickets; tried them out as much as I could. They batted extremely well. We have to improve in all departments of the game, but we are slowly getting better. We need to be more competitive. Hopefully we can do well in the next three games," Mathews said.
Asked about the turning down of a confident caught behind appeal against Dhawan when the batsman was on 10, a smiling Mathews said he cannot comment on it because of ICC rules.
"I can't talk about it, as per ICC rules. But mistakes happen. It was an unfortunate incident."