Champions Trophy 2013: Mahela Jayawardene hails Sri Lanka’s spirit

Champions Trophy 2013: Mahela Jayawardene hails Sri Lanka's team spirit after a victory over Australia

By Callum Orr

Mahela Jayawardene hailed Sri Lanka’s team spirit as the former captain’s side edged out Australia in a thrilling match to secure a place in the Champions Trophy semi-finals.

Sri Lanka, needing a win to beat New Zealand to second place in Group A, posted a respectable 253-8 from their 50 overs, and looked set secure an emphatic win thanks to a fine opening spell from Nuwan Kulasekara, with the fast-medium pacer taking the wickets of Watson (5) and Hughes (13).

But Australia’s Clint McKay and Xavier Doherty looked set to tear up the script and hang on for a win that would subsequently send both teams out, producing a last-wicket stand of 41.

However, McKay was eventually caught and bowled by Tillakaratne Dilshan for 30, sending Sri Lanka through to the next round, and man-of-the-match Jayawardene insisted that the only thing that mattered was the end result.

“[The] most important was winning and getting to the semi-finals,” said 36-year-old Jayawardene.

“We’re playing hard, passionate cricket, but enjoying each other’s success has been the mantra for us for a long time.

“We have to perform to make Angie’s job much easier, we are a happy camp.”

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews claimed that he had expected a tough match against the Australians, and thanked the fans for creating a party like atmosphere that helped see his side over the finishing line.

“We knew it was going to be tough,” said Mathews. “A big thank you must go to all the Sri Lanka supporters for turning up in such large numbers. I’ve never seen a crowd so big at The Oval.’

“Our main objective was to get to the semis, so first of all we will enjoy tonight and then focus on India.”

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