Pandey’s unbeaten knock came off 42 balls, and was studded with four boundaries.
Colombo: India middle-order batsman Manish Pandey has said that on the back of his half-century in the fourth ODI against Sri Lanka, he is looking to cement his spot in the playing XI. The visitors won by 168 runs to take a 4-0 lead in the series.
“Middle order is where I bat. Starting from no. 4 to no. 6 I have batted at different positions for India. I have to be ready for whatever spot I get. So if I get a chance then I need to get some runs and cement that spot for myself first,” Pandey said at the post-match press conference on Thursday.
He added, “Then if you keep performing and you keep playing better, then maybe you come one up in the order. So that will be my goal to fix a spot or two for myself, stay there at the end and win games for India.” Pandey’s unbeaten knock came off 42 balls, and was studded with four boundaries.
“Even batting through the India-A series, I batted very similar to the way I batted today. So it was not too different for me to come back and think about it like it was my first game in a long time. I have been batting well in the nets and I just had to watch the ball and play,” he added.
Thanks to Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma scoring attacking hundreds and putting on 219 runs for the second wicket, India made 375 for five after opting to bat. Pandey and Mahendra Singh Dhoni put on 101 runs for the sixth wicket, after a few hiccups in the middle order.
“The start was really important for us. I think we did well given the fact that it was really hot. The guys were batting very well and were looking for boundaries. “The way Virat and Rohit batted, getting their hundreds, I thought it allowed us to come back in the middle overs (after the collapse) and look for boundaries. It was a little easier for us in the end,” Pandey said.
“My mindset was to spend some time on the wicket first, like how many balls I should take initially. I need to take at least 6-10 balls to know what’s the wicket like. It was spinning a bit when the middle-order got out but as I said there was a plan to spend some time and eventually it came off well for me. There were wickets falling on the other side but I had to keep my calm and rotate the strike,” he added.
India lost their way after both Kohli and Sharma got out. They lost four wickets for 49 runs, but batting in his 300th ODI, Dhoni helped guide the finishing overs with Pandey. In the afternoon, Kohli had gifted Dhoni a platinum bat-memento to mark the occasion.