Wellington, March 1: An elated Sri Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews praised two of his star batsmen and said he initially believed the 310-run target was out of reach as his side beat England comprehensively by nine wickets at the Westpac Stadium here on Sunday.
Chasing a formidable 310-run target set by England, Sri Lanka looked at ease in the run chase. They were jolted just once when Tillakaratne Dilshan (44) was dismissed with the score at 100. But veteran Kumar Sangakkara (117) and left-handed opener Lahiru Thirimanne (139) put on a match-winning unbeaten partnership of 212 runs to overhaul the target with nine wickets to spare. “It was a brilliant performance as 310 was a bit too much. But brilliant batting by Sangakkara and Thirimanne helped us through, two of the greatest knocks I have seen,” Mathews said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
The Sri Lankan bowlers were a touch expensive in the match, as England middle-order bat Joe Root clobbered them to all parts of the ground enroute to his 121.
Mathews said he wanted the batsmen to step up especially after the bowlers failed to deliver the goods. “If the bowlers fail, the batters need to step up. That’s what we want. Two of the areas we need to improve on is the fielding and bowling at the death,” added the 27-year-old who picked up figures of 1/43 from his 10 overs.
With this win, 1996 World Cup champions Sri Lanka recorded their third straight victory in the World Cup, closing on a quarterfil berth. England crumbled to their third loss in the tourment. IANS