Virat Kohli heaped high praise on Cheteshwar Pujara after India’s Test series win in Sri Lanka on Sunday, calling him one of the best Test batsmen in the side. The captain also hailed the consistency Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane bring to the middle order.

Pujara, playing his 50th Test, scored 133, and with Rahane (132) added 217 runs to guide India to 622-9 declared in the first innings. The visitors then dismissed Sri Lanka for 183 and enforced follow-on after taking a 400-plus run lead.

“Pujara and Ajinkya are our two best Test batsmen, especially in the middle order. They’ve been doing so well consistently. Pujara, I would give him more credit because he only plays one format for India. And to be able to have that hunger and passion day in day out, working hard on his game, coming out and having those consistent performances takes a lot of mental strength,” Kohli was quoted as saying by PTI.

The Indian skipper went on to praise the No 3’s evolution as a batsman and how he has raised his game throughout the season.

“And he’s a guy with a lot of mental strength. He obviously has the game. He knows how to score runs, which is the most important thing. He has evolved massively as a cricketer since then. All of us have, but Pujara’s game has gone to another level. If you see last season, continuing now, he’s got about 1500 runs which is outstanding. All credit goes to how hard he’s works on the game, and how he thinks about his game as well,” Kohli added.