Champions Trophy 2013: England’s Cook hails Sri Lanka’s Sangakkara

Champions Trophy 2013: England captain Alastair Cook heaps praise on Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara after a seven-wicket loss

By Callum Orr
alastair cook
Alastair Cook's side suffered a seven-wicket loss to New Zealand Photo: The Sport Review

Alastair Cook heaped praised on Kumar Sangakkara for an “outstanding” century after England suffered a seven-wicket loss to Sri Lanka in their second Champions Trophy group match at Lord’s.

Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to bowl first, a decision justified by England’s failure to capitalise on a flat wicket, as the hosts’ 293-7 run total was chased down comfortably by their opponents with three overs to spare and with seven wickets in hand.

It is the third loss in five one-day internationals for Cook’s England side, and despite the defeated skipper’s visible disappointment, he paid tribute to Sri Lanka’s top order.

“That was an outstanding 100 by Sangakkara,” said the 28-year-old. “The pitch got easier and quicker as the day went on, but sometimes you have to say credit where credit’s due.

“We needed to take a couple more wickets, but that was a very, very good chase down. It doesn’t help from a bowling point of view when the ball gets changed.

“It’s very hard to get it to reverse swing. But sometimes, you say well played to the opposition, and this was one of those days.”

England looked to be struggling to take the chains off throughout much of their opening innings, and were it not for a late Ravi Bopara assault, Sri Lanka’s victory would have looked slightly more comfortable.

And Cook blamed much of the defeat on himself, suggesting that a stronger personal performance would have given the team enough to come away with a win.

“I thought 300 was about par,” said the captain. “I couldn’t get my innings away, and if I had done, we might have got to 320.

“We knew we had to win one of these two games. That’s why the Champions Trophy is a good tournament. Sometimes you come up short, but we’ll have a look at it and come back on Sunday.”

The defeat leaves England needing a win against New Zealand in Cardiff on Sunday to secure their semi-final place.

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