Colombo, Sep 16: Despite suffering a narrow six-run defeat to Bangladesh in the Super Four stage of the Asia Cup, opener Shubman Gill’s sparkling 121 on a tough pitch and against a four-man spin attack earned him praise from captain Rohit Sharma.
"He backs his game; he knows exactly how he wants to play. Pretty clear on what he wants to do for the team. Look at his form over the last year. Pretty solid against the new ball. Works really hard; there's no optional practice for Gill," said Rohit after the match ended.
Though Gill hit eight fours and five sixes in a masterful knock, and Axar Patel made a quick 42 off 34 balls at the fag end, it was not enough as India were bowled out for 259 in 49.5 overs.
"Axar batted brilliantly but couldn't finish. He showed a lot of character. But credit to the Bangladesh bowlers. Not to forget, Gill's hundred was brilliant," added Rohit.
In Friday’s match, debutant Tilak Varma, Suryakumar Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami and Prasidh Krishna were given game time as Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj were given rest.
"We wanted to give some game time to the guys, keeping the bigger picture in mind. Not compromising on how we wanted to play this game. Get in some players who are likely to play in the World Cup," stated Rohit.
Bangladesh also made five changes, but it was captain Shakib Al Hasan, who was adjudged Player of the Match. Shakib, who had a lean run with the bat in the tournament, stepped up with his calculative play to top-score with 80 and shared a 101-run partnership with Towhid Hridoy, who made a lovely 54.
"We gave (chances) to the guys who haven't played much. We thought spinners would play a part, and luckily they did. I wasn't batting well during this Asia Cup, but today I had time to settle. When I hit my first boundary, it felt good. When the ball got older, spin was difficult to play," Shakib said.
Though Shakib and the other three spinners took only four scalps collectively, they were able to stem the run-flow in the middle overs. Shakib also praised Tanzim Hasan Sakib, as the young pacer took 2-32 on debut to end the Asia Cup on a high.
"When Mahedi came on, it wasn't easy to bowl. He bowled five overs in a row in the end. I should give credit to Sakib (Tanzim) also. I think we have got a very good team (for the World Cup). A lot of injuries and players coming in and going out didn't help during this Asia Cup," he added.
On his spell, Tanzim said he planned to get it right in line and length. "The first wicket of Rohit bhai was a dream wicket. I just concentrated on line and length. I mentally prepared myself for a long spell. That ball (the last ball to Shami), I believed I could bowl the perfect ball. Very good feeling."