Ahmedabad, Nov 7: An elated Ambati Rayudu last night said that his maiden hundred in international cricket will certainly be a "special one" as it took a long time to come.
Rayudu, who first time played for India A back in 2003 as a 18-year-old talent had lost his way in the middle joining unsanctioned Indian Cricket League (ICL), leaving Hyderabad for Andhra and subsequently joining Baroda.
"It's a special feeling as it's been a long wait," Rayudu said at the post-match presentation ceremony. Rayudu feels that since the team management gave him confidence, it was easier for him to showcase his skills at No. 3 position which captain Kohli voluntarily vacated for him. (Statistical highlights)
"I think, more than anything, the confidence given to me by the coach, Virat and Dhoni bhai. All the members of the team management telling me, hang in there. I was not actually looking to get a hundred as such, just trying to stay unbeaten and see the team through and in the process I got to the hundred," said the soft-spoken former India U-19 captain.
Asked if he would like to bat higher up the order like today, Rayudu was diplomatic. "I think it's left to the captain (keeping the No. 3 position), so I'll stand by whatever decision he takes."
Skipper Virat Kohli was impressed in the manner Rayudu grabbed the chance to bat higher up the order.
"It's just giving the guys a bit of belief and confidence from my end. Duncan and the management as well, to go out there and perform, and the guys have responded beautifully so far," Kohli said.
The skipper said that Rayudu, who has been around in the first-class circuit for a long time deserved the chance.
"Rayudu was in the India 'A' team 12 years back, and it's all about giving him the opportunity that he deserved. He made full use of that. We are treating every game as the last game of the series. That's the kind of culture we're building in this team."
For Kohli, losing the toss was a "blessing in disguise" as there was quite a bit of dew later on.
Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews rued the fact that his team could not post a total in excess of 300.
"The 300 mark, makes a lot of difference. We lost our way in the middle and couldn't pull through. These wickets are quite good for the batsmen and you need to score runs in the top four as well," Mathews said.
"We'll try to make it up in the next game, but it was an embarrassing performance. We need to try and get wickets because it's never easy, with their batting line-up, to contain. We've got to pull out our best to try and see if we can beat the Indians."