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Boys showed character in crunch game: Mahela

2 March 2012 02:39 pm - 22     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


After Sri Lanka defeated Australia in a must-win match to qualify for the tri-series final, captain Mahela Jayawardene said his players showed a "lot of character" to lift themselves up after the morale-shattering loss against India in their penultimate round-robin game.

After being thrashed by India on Tuesday, a battered Sri Lanka needed nothing less than a win against Australia at the MCG on Friday to seal their spot in the best-of-three finals against the home team, starting Sunday.

And the islanders managed to achieve their goal but not without some tense moments as they eked out a nail-biting nine-run victory over Australia that knocked India out of the tournament.

"The boys showed character (to bounce back after the defeat against India). (Before today's match) we discussed in the dressing room 'what has happened (against India) has happened'," a jubilant Jayawardene said after the win.

"When chips were down you need to lift your game and that's what the team has done," he added.

Jayawardene also credited the vociferous Sri Lankan supporters present at the MCG on Friday for helping the team's cause.

"Fantastic support, it's like playing in Sri Lanka. I'm sure the crowd will follow us now, the lift that we got (from them), it pushed us in the last few overs."

Australia's stand-in-skipper, Shane Watson admitted that in the end David Hussey's brilliance was not enough to see them through as they had lost "too many wickets in the middle overs".

"A brilliant game of cricket. You never knew who was going to win, but we lost too many wickets in the middle," Watson, who led Australia in place of injured Michael Clarke, said.

"David Hussey batted beautifully, as he's shown through the summer so far. You need a few other guys to bat around him," he said of the right-hander, who was the last Australian wicket to fall but not before scoring a run-a-ball 74.

Watson also backed Hussey's decision not to run the single off the second last ball off the 49th over with Australia needing 10 runs off eight balls.

"I back his judgement because he probably backed himself to score 10 runs of the last over," the skipper said.

Watson said he was sure regular captain Clarke will be fit for Sunday's first of the three finals.

Man-of-the-match Dinesh Chandimal, who was the highest run-getter for Sri Lanka with a 84-ball 75 on Friday, said he was happy to be able to contribute for his team on a regular basis in the series. (PTI)

  Comments - 22

  • ratnasiri Saturday, 03 March 2012 04:45 AM

    Tactics adopted at different stages of the game, speaks volumes, of Mahela Jayawardene's knowledge that he posses. We Lankans are really proud of you. Brilliant.

    Bavanajohn Saturday, 03 March 2012 04:21 PM

    Anyhow politics will come on it. Dont worry

    Bavanajohn Saturday, 03 March 2012 04:07 PM

    Bad choice! Jaoygedara should not be taken for final. He is not in touch.

    lankashantha Saturday, 03 March 2012 11:03 AM

    When our cricket captains are going to be matured and say our young men instead of "boys" where most of our boys are 35+ and married.

    jamal Saturday, 03 March 2012 09:15 AM

    CONGRATULATIONS u r the best captain. well done mahela.

    Jan Saturday, 03 March 2012 08:59 AM

    Well done.

    We need to encourage Mahela to continue as captain until the next world cup in Australia / NZ or as long as he could. I am sure he will do if there is no unnecessary interference.

    If we are to be serious contenders we need the experience of Mahela & Sanga in Australia.

    chandrakumar Saturday, 03 March 2012 08:09 AM

    Congratulations to Mahela and the winning srilankan team. We enjoyed a fantastic game of cricket at MCG physically being there. What a sight it was.Match fluctuating to either side and at last Srilankan boys' brilliance came to forefront Good luck for the finals.

    amilag Saturday, 03 March 2012 06:56 AM

    Bye ByeFat Track Bullies! The teams most deserved to be in the final got the spot there. India on the way back to home should drop one or two burdensome old players to indian ocean. LOL

    pristley weerasinghe Saturday, 03 March 2012 06:07 AM

    now all of u congrat the team. but last match u all blame malinga.u guys dosent know the game of cricket

    Nilakshan Perera Saturday, 03 March 2012 05:33 AM

    Excellent, please protect Chandimal he is the precious gift that we have to protect, what match , boys believe yourself thats the word.Superb!!!!!!

    ajith Saturday, 03 March 2012 05:27 AM

    Well done Team...but Injured ones should be replaced as they are like crippled horses.If not it will be another world cup final with big player names but crippled>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    kondebendapucheena Friday, 02 March 2012 03:07 PM

    You are the Best and Good Luck for the rest of the Series

    Pasan Saturday, 03 March 2012 02:34 AM

    Well done boys. I just read that Kapugedara is going to be there as replacement. Bad choice:) Remember what happened in the world cup?

    cxcb Saturday, 03 March 2012 02:45 AM

    one word - superrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr !!!

    AUJ Saturday, 03 March 2012 01:48 AM

    CONGRATULATIONS ! and WELL DONE MAHELA and BOYS.!You have answered your critics accusing you of match fixing to retain your high demand in the IPL series.
    Keep it up Mahela ,we are behind you.

    freehit Friday, 02 March 2012 06:31 PM

    Congratulations, Mahela and the boys, and best wishes for the three finals. I strongly believe that the ' umpire review system' should be brought back. One of the wrong decisions not only gave Christian a ' hat trick ', but also helped him to a 5 wkt. haul.

    herbert karunaratne Friday, 02 March 2012 06:29 PM

    It was a fantastic game which swung several times either way before ending in a nail-biting finish. Enjoyed it more than a thriller movie.Thank you, Mahela and boys, for giving us back home something to be happy about, and we'll keep our fingers crossed for more good news at the three finals. By the way , this match puts forward a strong case for bringing back the ' Umpire review system'.

    Sammy Friday, 02 March 2012 05:53 PM

    Mahela & Malinga were quick to be denounced when SL lost to India in the last match and both have bounced back in this match for their captaincy and bowling respectively. Congrats SL, you are worthy finalists. Now go on to win the series.

    Shelton Fernando Friday, 02 March 2012 03:55 PM

    Well done guys!

    Mohamed Friday, 02 March 2012 03:59 PM

    what a game!! watched only the highlights for more than 5 times now....

    Gamini Udagepola Friday, 02 March 2012 03:43 PM

    Congratulations, keep up the good work and Lift the Trophy, SL team deserves it. Good luck!.

    pranandu Friday, 02 March 2012 03:20 PM

    Congratulations to Mahela and his spirited team. See when you got a good leader what a difference it has on the players. Keep up the good work Mahela wish you, angelo and the team all the best.

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