Senior Sri Lanka batsman Mahela Jayawardene has said they need to contain the “strong Indian batting” when the two teams meet in the Champions Trophy semi-final on Thursday.
The 36-year-old led his team to victory over Australia by scoring an unbeaten 84 in their last group match on Monday when Sri Lanka won by 33 runs, to fix a date with India at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff.
“I think India are playing some really good cricket. Their batting looks really strong, so those are key areas that we need to focus on,” Jayawardene was quoted as saying by the Champions Trophy website.
India have won all their three group B matches while Sri Lanka won two of their Group A matches. India had beaten Sri Lanka in a warm-up game leading up to the tournament.
“Warm-up games or whatever, it doesn’t count right now. It’s a big tournament. It’s the semifinal, so looking forward to that.” The 2011 World Cup finalists were declared joint-winners of the 2002 Champions Trophy after the final was called off due to rain.
The former skipper said that they are desperate to win. “I’ll be desperate for every game to win, simple as that. It’s not about trophies or whatever, it’s just to win matches.
So I’ll have that same passion and same desperation to win games, doesn’t matter if it’s a semifinal or final or just a group game. As long as I have that attitude and the rest of the boys, we’ll go a long way,” said Jayawardene.
The right-hand bat became the eighth batsman in ODI history, and the third Sri Lankan batsman after Sanath Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara, to cross the 11,000-run mark.
When asked about his feelings, Jayawardene said: “In the middle, I didn’t feel anything. Obviously, pleased when the numbers came up. I can probably reflect more on that achievement because we won the game as well. So importantly the contribution that I made towards the team is much more valuable for me but quietly I should be able to reflect on that achievement.”