Away Test wins rarely come any easier than the one for India in Galle. Ever since Shikhar Dhawan was dropped on the first morning - Asela Gunaratne injuring himself out of the series in trying to catch him - this Test for India was about as tough as an arrack joint in Sri Lanka. The toss was won, runs were scored and scored at a frenetic pace, the wickets were taken, more runs piled on, and then India's biggest away win was sealed on the fourth evening.
It was a near-perfect Test for India, but they would have wanted to finish it much earlier by not letting Sri Lanka's lower-middle order score runs. In the first innings, Sri Lanka's last four wickets added 148, in the second 129. Victorious captain Virat kohli identified that as an area of improvement to target.
"There are still some areas that we want to look back and try to improve upon; especially when you get four-five wickets and not letting the lower order to get away with the few runs in the later half of the innings," Kohli said. "It's something that we can still identify and work on in the next two games as well.
"But all in all, I think, playing Test cricket - February [the Australia series ended in March] is when we last played Test cricket - and from then, having played so much one-day cricket and not having the time to prepare so much in between… I think from that point of view it was good to get back into the groove and do things that are supposed to be done to win a Test match."
Amid this glut of one-day cricket, it was easy to forget what a poor series Kohli had the last time he played Tests, against Australia. It was a welcome return to red-ball runs for him as he scored a century while setting up the declaration, but Kohli said he wasn't even conscious of that series against Australia.
"I wasn't looking at things from that point of view," he said. "I think people on the outside start counting the number of innings when a batsman doesn't score well, but for us as batsman or anyone playing in the XI, it's all about what the team wants at that particular situation. And you end up scoring runs as well plus you end up helping team also.
"I think the second innings required us to play more positively, and I am glad I was able to do that along with Abhinav [Mukund] to get us enough time to get the opposition out and enough runs on the board for us to feel comfortable. Yeah, I wasn't certainly looking at things like how many innings I haven't scored because when you are playing all formats, you don't think which format you have not scored runs in how many innings. You can't utilise so much energy in that."
Energy here was utilised in taking wickets because the pitch was really flat. "The last time when we played here the surface offered much more to the bowlers," Kohli said. "It kept the bowlers in the game throughout, the quicks and the spinners more so. This time around the wicket was really good to bat on even till today. I mean if you applied yourself, you could easily score runs on that surface.
"So, yeah, we had to work hard for getting all the wickets that we did. I think the bowlers came up with different plans, persisted with them long enough to get those breakthroughs and that's something that always helps at the beginning of a series, to get a victory on a surface which is not offering much and that really gives the team the confidence of doing it once more if we get a surface like that."
More confidence is drawn from having found Hardik Pandya as the allrounder to give them the balance. "First innings, he didn't get opportunity to bowl much but I think in the second innings, he bowled really nicely on a wicket that wasn't offering much and he kept it in the right areas," Kohli said of Pandya. "He used the bouncer well. He bowls around 135, when he bends his back he can go higher. So he is a great asset and I have mentioned this before as well.
"And specially his batting. Otherwise we would have been 540-550 in the first innings. He got 50 quickly and that saves you time as well. That gives you another 15 overs to bowl at the opposition. And his fielding is also tremendous. I have a lot of faith in him as far as any format is concerned. Test cricket, he has got the technique. He is a really good batsman. You might not look at it precisely but we understand how much he can bring to the table, and I surely have a lot of faith in him that he will be able to perform on any surface on which he plays."
Kohli hoped Pandya will be able to contribute to India in a measure similar to Ben Stokes for England. "When you play away from home, one guy [allrounder] gives you a lot of balance, and I think Hardik can be that guy going ahead, specially playing so much cricket away from home," Kohli said. "If he grows in confidence - you see someone like Ben Stokes, what he does for England. Brings in great balance as an allrounder. I see no reason why Hardik Pandya can't become that for India."