India v Sri Lanka, tri-series, Port-of-Spain July 10, 2013

Kohli proud of top-of-the-table finish

ESPNcricinfo staff

Virat Kohli has praised the Indian team for showing character by brushing aside early losses in the tri-series to finish on top of the table and qualify for the final. India beat Sri Lanka by 81 runs under the D/L method and the two teams will play each other again in the final on July 11.

"To bounce back like this and finish at the top of the table is a commendable effort. I am very proud of the team," Kohli said. "We have shown a lot of character. When three good teams are playing in the tournament, anything can happen. We were never bothered about the rain delays. Our performance showed what happens when one executes their plans properly."

The match against Sri Lanka was a must-win game for India and they struggled early in their innings on a difficult pitch. Kohli, who shared a 49-run stand with Rohit Sharma for the second wicket, said the team had a game plan of conserving wickets. India were on 119 for 3 when rain ended their innings.

"When Rohit and I were playing, we just wanted to play ourselves in. It paid in the end, because we had wickets in hand, and it worked in the D/L calculations in our favour," Kohli said. "Then the bowlers responded beautifully. Full credit to them."

Rohit Sharma, who fought hard for his 48 not out, was pleased with his effort. "I took it up as a challenge. I know that I have a long way to go," he said. "I am really not bothered about whether I am getting a big score as long as I am contributing and working on my mistakes."

Also crucial to India's defence of 178 in 29 overs - a revised D/L target - was Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Making good use of the pitch after the long rain delay, he finished with career-best figures of 4 for 8 in six overs, and said the pitch at Queens Park Oval was the 'most helpful one' that he had bowled on so far.

Sri Lanka's captain, Angelo Mathews said the rain delay had made the pitch tougher for his batsmen. "We bowled well, but when we batted the pitch had been under covers and had sweated more. We had nothing to lose and went for the win," Mathews said after his team was dismissed for 96. "It's mentally and physically draining to play three days in a row. We have played some good cricket to get to the final, hopefully we can beat India on Thursday."