press trust of india
LONDON, 18 JUNE: The five-wicket defeat to India in a warm-up match ahead of the International Cricket Council’s Champions Trophy tournament will have no significance when Sri Lanka square off against the same opponents in a semi-final, said Mahela Jayawardene.
According to him, the islanders will do their best to win the match.
Jayawardene, who reached 11,000 One-Day Internationals runs yesterday, said that the defeat against India in a warm-up game in Birmingham on 1 June was history.
India easily got past Sri Lanka’s 333 for five with Virat Kohli and Dinesh Karthik scoring big centuries.
“Warm-up games or whatever, it doesn’t count right now. It’s a big tournament. It’s the semi-final, so we’re looking forward to that,” said Jayawardene.
The Sri Lankans beat Australia by 20 runs at the Oval last night to finish second in Group A.
Jayawardene scored an unbeaten 84 to win the Man-of-the-Match award as Sri Lanka scored 253 for the loss of eight wickets in a must-win game.
While defending the score, Nuwan Kulasekara took three for 42 and Rangana Herath grabbed two for 48 to snuff out a late challenge by the Australians.
The Sri Lankans were travelling to Cardiff today to play in the tournament’s second semi-final against India on Thursday. On Wednesday, England take on South Africa in the first semi-final at the Oval.
Jayawardene, however, admitted that India’s batting had looked very strong in the tournament.
“I think they’re playing some really good cricket. Their batting looks really strong, so those are key areas that we need to focus a bit on,” the former Sri Lankan captain said.
On his personal milestone of reaching 11,000-run club, Jayawardene said: “I didn’t feel anything. Obviously, I was pleased when the numbers came up. I can tonight probably reflect more on that achievement because we won the game as well. So, importantly, the contribution that I made towards the team was much more valuable for me.” Jayawardene said that Sri Lanka would be desperate to win the ICC Champions Trophy, an honour which they had shared with India after rain scuppered the final in 2002 in Colombo.
“We’ll be desperate to win every game, as simple as that. It’s not about trophies or whatever, it’s just about winning matches. So I’ll have that same passion and the same desperation to win games; it doesn’t matter if it’s a semi-final or the final or just a group game. As long as I have that attitude and so have the rest of the boys, we’ll go a long way,” he said.