'Second-day bowling our best in two years' - Kohli
India captain Virat Kohli has said that the attack's second-day performance at the P Sara Oval was "easily" their best bowling effort in the last two years. India had bowled tightly to the Sri Lanka top order on day two, restricting Sri Lanka to 116 for 3 from the first 45 overs of the innings. The visitors then endured a wicketless session against Angelo Mathews and Lahiru Thirimanne on the third morning, but claimed the last seven Sri Lanka wickets for 65 runs.
"The session we had in the first innings where we squeezed them was one of the best bowling sessions I've been part of with this Indian cricket team," Kohli said. "In the past two years, that was easily our best bowling effort as a group, especially in terms of partnerships.
"I'm more pleased with the bowlers taking 20 wickets rather than guys getting hundreds. If you look at Ishant Sharma today, he was helping to take wickets by creating pressure. I think that's the understanding they are creating amongst themselves. I'm really happy for them and in a game like today, we actually closed it off very convincingly."
India's spinners had been instrumental to the victory, claiming 14 wickets between them to dismiss Sri Lanka for 306 and 134. R Ashwin drew particular praise from his captain after claiming 5 for 42 in the second innings. He is the series' top wicket-taker so far with 17 scalps at an average of 16.35. His offspin has troubled Sri Lanka's left-handers, including Kumar Sangakkara, who was out to him all four times in this series.
"Ashwin has been taking wickets for us everywhere," Kohli said. "Even in the tour of Australia, he was more aggressive with the ball. He wants to improve on his cricket and he has certainly done that. Even in his mindset, he's bowling in a more aggressive manner. It's almost impossible to get him away.
"Even for the right-hander - with the ball spinning into you it should be an easier angle - even those players he is confusing at the moment. I'm glad to see him with this kind of mindset: attacking the batsmen all the time, bowling attacking lines all the times. He's an asset any captain would love to have in his team."
Kohli said India would look to "keep to the same batting line up" for the SSC Test, save for the two injury replacements. M Vijay's spot would be taken up by Cheteshwar Pujara, Kohli said, while Wriddhiman Saha will be replaced by Naman Ojha, who flies into Sri Lanka on Monday night.
"Pujara is pretty solid, and with the new ball, he has opened in the subcontinent before," Kohli said. "If we had three-four Tests, then you have to think of a proper opener. I feel Pujara has done the job in the past, and we are very confident he will be able to do the job in the next game."
Pujara had batted at No. 3 and No. 6 in the Melbourne Test before being dropped from the XI. He is unlikely to remain as an opener beyond the next Test.
"Our main aim is to win a Test match," Kohli said. "If someone has to chip in for one game and then miss out for the next, it is understandable. Whatever is done is for the betterment of the team. If a Pujara is asked to open in the next game because the team demands him to do so, he is pretty happy to do it. I certainly believe that you need to play the best XI possible for a particular game and play guys at positions that will give you the best chance of winning a Test match. Shuffling, chipping and changing, cutting and changing, I don't really mind doing that."
India have already made changes to their top order this series, with Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane switching positions, and Vijay coming back for one Test, having missed the first through injury. Kohli said the quality in the wider batting group made for a versatile, future-proof unit.
"I believe all these seven or eight of us are the ones who are going to play for a long time and we are getting confident. They are guys who can be shuffled up and down the order according to what the game demands. Even when I am padded up at No. 4, I feel, I know these guys when they get a partnership going you feel that belief in them when you watch them bat. As a batsman sitting outside you feel like you can be at ease because these guys know what they are doing. When you know that you can count on six or seven batsmen that are playing for you, as a bowling unit also it gives you a lot of confidence."
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando