India pacer Deepak Chahar, who was an unexpected hero with the bat in the second ODI against Sri Lanka, on Tuesday said coach Rahul Dravid’s belief in his batting inspired him to produce a match-winning knock for his team. Chahar came ahead of the more accomplished Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the batting order after India lost their six wickets for 160 runs while chasing 276. In the end, they both forged an unbeaten 84-run stand to script a three-wicket win for India.

“No better way to win the match for the country. Rahul sir told me to play all the balls. I’ve played a few innings with India A (when Dravid was coach) and I think he has belief in me.”

“He told me he thinks I’m good enough to be a No.7. He has belief in me. Hopefully, in the coming matches I don’t have to bat. When we came under 50 that’s when I believed we can win. Before that, it was ball by ball. I took some risks after,” said Chahar at the post-match presentation.

Prior to this game, his highest score in international cricket was 12.

“It was hot out there, we did well there. Got two wickets. We managed to stop them at 270 (275 actually). It was a decent score on this wicket.

“Only one thing that was going on in my mind: this is the kind of innings I’ve been dreaming of. No better way to win the match for the country,” he said talking about his mindset in the middle.

India had romped to victory in the first ODI but it took a lot more effort on Tuesday.

Tail-ender Deepak Chahar brought India back from the dead with a steely 69 off 82 balls and script the visiting team’s series-sealing victory in the second ODI against Sri Lanka here on Tuesday.

Chasing 276, India were down and out at 193 for seven before Chahar and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (19 not out off 28) forged an unbeaten 84-run stand to seal a memorable win for the visitors who extended their record of not losing an ODI on Sri Lanka soil since 2012.

A struggling Sri Lankan outfit badly needed a morale-boosting win but has only itself to blame for not finishing the job from a commanding position.

Chahar, whose highest score before this game was 12, showed remarkable resolve and composure under pressure to take his team over the line with five balls to spare. He fittingly hit the winning boundary.

It was India’s ninth consecutive bilateral series win over Sri Lanka. The third ODI will be played on Friday.

It was expected to be another comfortable chase for India after Sri Lanka put an improved batting effort to post 275 for nine.

However, questionable shot selection from the majority of the Indian batsmen gave their struggling opponents hope.

Barring Chahar and Suryakumar Yadav (53), the Indian batsmen faltered. Leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga troubled the Indians with his variations and ended up being the stand out bowler for his team.