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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Reuters > Report

Jayasuriya praises team's comeback

March 16, 2003 00:05 IST

Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya praised his team's performance in reaching the World Cup semi-finals on Saturday after their heavy defeat by India in the previous match.

Sri Lanka beat Zimbabwe by 74 runs on Saturday to claim the final place in the last four where they will play favourites Australia on Tuesday.

"India was a disappointment but the guys knew this was an important game," Jayasuriya said. "If we win we were in the semi-finals and if we lost we were out.

"What happened in Johannesburg was a disappointing all-round performance altogether. But we have played enough cricket to come back and play well."

Although the pitch was clearly difficult for batting during the Sri Lanka innings, Jayasuriya said he felt it had improved once the Zimbabweans started their run chase.

"The pitch was very slow in the morning but when we were bowling it was a good wicket," he said. "They started really well against our fast bowlers.

"Our spinners found it a little difficult to turn the ball but later on Murali (Muttiah Muralitharan) came on and bowled a good line and Chaminda Vaas bowled some good reverse swing. That is where we changed the match.

"Earlier on Marvan (Atapattu) batted well because the wicket was not easy at all."

Atapattu was named man-of-the-match after batting through the Sri Lanka innings for 103 not out.

Looking forward to Tuesday's match, Jayasuriya said although his side were heavily beaten by Australia in the Super Sixes, conditions at St George's Park could favour his side.

"The first match is over now and history. The semi-final will be a different game altogether," he said. "History says that Port Elizabeth has been a turning track. We have to go there and see but it usually turns and that would suit our bowlers."

© Copyright 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.


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