Friday 16 January 2009 

Jayawardene: We Probably Did Not Deserve To Win

Jayawardene: We Probably Did Not Deserve To Win
Jayawardene: We Probably Did Not Deserve To Win
© REUTERS/Andrew Biraj (BANGLADESH) Picture Supplied by Action Images
 

Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene has paid Bangladesh the highest possible compliment by saying that his side "probably did not deserve" to win the tri-series ODI final by two wickets in Mirpur.

A last-ditch innings of 33 not out from Muttiah Muralitharan guided the away side home after a Kumar Sangakkara half-century helped them recover from five for six in pursuit of 153 to win.

"Probably we did not deserve to win after doing the things we did today but at the end of the day we won and hats off to Kumar, (Farveez) Mahroof and Murali (Muttiah)," a relieved Jayawardene said. "I never thought we would win but we kept fighting, fighting and fighting and came out winners.

"It was a great final and a very good game of cricket," he added. "Our guys bowled well and they were brilliant throughout and put the ball in very good areas. Then from 6 for 5 I think we handled it pretty well to win.  We have spent four weeks here now and played a Test series and a tri-nation. We set out to win both and we have done it. As a captain I am very happy."

Sangakkara, whose patient innings went a long way towards Sri Lanka's victory, said that experience was the key.

"It is tough on them (Bangladesh) especially after trying so hard but it was not to be," he said. "I guess our experience in finals won us the game."

Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful was understandably disappointed after the match.

"It is a sinking feeling," he admitted. "Defending 152 is very tough but when Shakib ran Sanath Jayasuriya out first ball then we all felt that it could be our day. We believed in ourselves and we knew that the the Sri Lankan top-order was not in the best of form. Our plan was to bowl straight and to be at our best in the field."

There were more words of encouragement and advice for Bangladesh from Jayawardene, however.

"They should be very proud of their performance especially in the Tri-Nation tournament," he said. "Shakib was brilliant in the Tests and the ODIs but I think the unsung hero was Mashrafe (Mortaza). Every game, be it the Test or the ODIs he created opportunities with the new ball and took crucial wickets. He was consistent throughout the tour.

"Bangladesh have had some very good individual performances and they have improved a lot in the last two years. They realize now that they can beat any of the top teams and the key for them would be to continue working hard and improving."

Bangladesh now play Zimbabwe in three ODIs starting on Monday while Sri Lanka leave for Pakistan where their three-match ODI series begins on January 21st.

© Cricket World 2009

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