India vs Sri Lanka: Hanuma Vihari giving India the same sense of calm that Pujara gave, says Sunil Gavaskar

Written by Vipin Darwade

Batting great Sunil Gavaskar on Friday lauded Hanuma Vihari, saying he is extremely impressed with the way the batter went about his business in his first match at No. 3. Vihari, who took Cheteshwar Pujara’s spot in the first Test against Sri Lanka in Mohali, hit a solid fifty on the opening day.

Hanuma Vihari, who was playing only his 2nd innings at home, eased into the new role, getting his runs with ease against the Sri Lankan attack. Vihari hit 5 boundaries when he got to his fifty in 93 balls.

Vihari had batted in the lower-middle order over the years after opening the batting in his debut in 2018. It was only the Hyderabad batter’s 2nd Test match at home and Vihari made good use of the opportunity, making an early impression at No. 3.

Vihari got the opportunity to bat at No. 3 after India dropped Cheteshwar Pujara along with Ajinkya Rahane for the Sri Lanka series. The 28-year-old, who has batted at No. 3 and scored heaps of runs for his domestic side, looked untroubled, giving a sense of calmness to the dressing room after India lost their openers Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agarwal in the first session.

“He has given the same sense of calm to the Indian dressing room as Pujara used to. When Pujara was at the crease, you could breathe easy. You knew that one end would be tight,” Gavaskar told Star Sports.

“He has been very impressive. Look at the straightness of the bat. Most of the runs have come from full face of the bat. Not once would the dressing room have felt any nervousness because of the way he has been batting. He has looked so good.

“Look at the time he has to get into position. Very impressive. He was impressive in South Africa where the pitches were far more difficult. The way he farmed the strike in the 2nd innings to bat with the tail and get valuable runs,” he added.

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Vipin Darwade