Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Mahela praises Sanath and Ajantha’s performances

Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardena showered praise on Sanath Jayasuriya and Ajantha Mendis for playing a sterling role to help the team win the six nation ACC Asia Cup tournament for a fourth time.

Jayawardena noted that Jayasuriya’s brilliant knock of 125 was probably the turning point although Mendis sealed the game with career best figures of six wickets for 13 runs from eight overs. As a result India were shot out for just 173 runs while chasing Sri Lanka’s formidable total of 273 runs under lights at the National Stadium in Karachi.

The Sri Lankan captain paid tribute to veteran Jayasuriya who was playing in his record 25th Asia Cup match after having celebrated his 39th birthday last Monday. Jayawardena said that this was one of the best innings he had seen from Jayasuriya who went on to complete his sixth Asia Cup century and the 27th one day international century.

Jayawardena further said that this was a very special innings from the dashing left hander who was not willing to throw his wicket away but was determined to play a responsible innings.

The Sri Lankan captain said that Jayasuriya’s occupation at the crease during this stage was crucial because they had lost four wickets before the 12th over of the innings. He said that they were confident of defending their total of 273 runs although he felt they were still 20 to 30 runs short of their real target.

The Lankan captain said that had Tillekeratne Dilshan batted until the end they could have easily got pass the three hundred run mark.

Jayawardena said that they were well aware that India were short of one bowler in their line up and they fully exploited this by collecting some valuable runs during the last few overs of the innings.

In contrast Sri Lanka went in with five specialist bowlers for the final and this turned out to be a vital factor at the end.

The Sri Lankan captain noted that they had to pick up wickets at regular intervals and Mendis did exactly that after Indian openers had made another solid start. India of course won the earlier confrontation against Sri Lanka by six wickets while chasing a total of 308 runs.

But he noted that the final was altogether a completely different contest and the pressure was always on the side batting second. He said that they would have anyway batted first in the final and the toss did not make any impact on the final outcome.

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