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Home > Cricket > The Cup > Reuters > Report

Jayawardene hails Sri Lanka grit

N. Ananthanarayanan | March 24, 2007 11:22 IST

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Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene praised his team for overcoming trying conditions to defeat India and top their World Cup Group B on Friday.

Sri Lankan batsmen overcame a seaming pitch in the morning to score 254 for six and then bowled out India for 185 after the pitch had settled down.

"The way we handled the situation and the way India handled the situation probably made the difference," he told a news conference.

The 1996 champions will carry two points into the next Super Eights stage, which could be crucial to reach the semis.

Sri Lankan opener Upul Tharanga dug in to top-score with 64 before Chamara Silva made 59, his third successive fifty in the tournament. Off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan took three wickets and was named the man of the match.

Left-arm paceman Chaminda Vaas removed openers Robin Uthappa (18) and Saurav Ganguly (7) after they tried toy force the pace too early.

"Upul batted really well and Chamara once again showed what a good cricketer he is," the skipper said.

"Murali bowled really well and Vassy bowled well upfront.

"They have a class batting line-up and considering that, we thought 250 was probably short. We managed to get couple of early wickets and put pressure on them."

India were virtually eliminated with the loss and will be heading home if Bangladesh avoid defeat against debutants Bermuda on Sunday.

Muralitharan, 34, was pleased with his own performance.

"The ball didn't turn much, but I've the ability to turn the ball," said the second highest one-day wicket-taker with 438 scalps. "Not many people would've turned much in this situation."

He also took a superb running catch to dismiss opener Saurav Ganguly for seven.

"Our bowlers also deserve credit because they kept a very good line and kept the pressure on," he said. "The Indians played big shots and they got out."

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