Champions Trophy 2013: Sangakkara was brilliant, admits Sri Lanka skipper
Champions Trophy 2013: Sri Lanka captain Angelo Matthews heaps praise on Kumar Sangakkara for his unbeaten 134
Angelo Matthews praised Kumar Sangakkara’s match-winning display after the Sri Lanka batsman’s unbeaten 134 helped his side secure a comfortable seven-wicket victory over England at Lord’s.
Matthews opted to bowl first on a flat wicket, a decision that was justified as his team comfortably chased down England’s target of 293-7 with three overs to spare, giving them their first win of the Champions Trophy.
And the 26-year-old captain was effusive in his praise of his top order, citing Sangakkara’s century in particular as a defining factor in the win.
“We needed that,” said Matthews. “We started off pretty waywardly but the bowlers came back well in the middle period, and once against Sangakkara batted brilliantly, when the team needs him he delivers.
“They got a bit of momentum with the last over, but the wicket turned out to be an absolute belter, brilliant to bat on.”
Sangakkara’s century helped to settle Sri Lankan nerves after a poor start in which opening batsman Kusal Perera was dismissed for just six runs.
But the 35-year-old was quick to share the plaudits with his team-mates, insisting that half century knocks from Nuwan Kulasekara and Mahela Jayawardne were equally as important to the team’s successful run chase.
“I was pretty happy with the way I went about it,” said the wicket-keeper. “[Tillakaratne] Dilshan and Mahela batted well but Kulasekara really put the icing on it, and once the powerplay was over, I think he surprised everyone with some great shots.
“Mahela’s the best batsman in the side and was looking really dangerous. It was tough on the bowlers at times but both sides batted well.
“We’ve got to win the next one, hopefully our run rate has done some good today and we’ll have to prepare well for the Aussies.”