Sunday, March 25, 2007

Jayawardene looks for more success

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, March 24, 2007
Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene has told team-mates not to rest on their laurels after qualifying for the World Cup second round with an emphatic win over India.
"There is still room for us to improve. I think the conditions will be different at different venues and we have to make sure we don't sit back on what we have achieved now," he said.
"We now need to work much harder, improve ourselves and adapt to the other conditions. We had a set of plans for this group stage, how we wanted to play our cricket, especially in Trinidad, and we executed them very well."
"Any side at home is stronger. If you take us in Sri Lanka, we are much stronger than anybody. So it is just a home advantage. You know the wickets and you have the support of the crowds," he said.
"When India are playing at home,they have 30,000-40,000 in most of the stadiums, and in Kolkata you have 80,000 shouting for you. So it is totally different.
"That is why I said when you guys asked me in India that we are playing India in the World Cup and I said 'Yes, but not in India. We are playing in the Caribbean'."
Jayawardene said his team's good performances away from home in recent times had stood them well in this tournament.
"What we tried to do over the last year or so is that we tried toplay a lot of cricket away from home. We wanted to compete away from home, improve ourselves and see where we can be," he said.
"The practice that we have been doing over the last 12 months has groomed us to compete abroad, get adjusted to wickets and conditions quickly and play some smart cricket."
"We knew how strong the Indian side was. They are a brilliant side, but any team can go through a day like this. Obviously, they have a class batting line-up. We also thought that 254 was probably short," he said.
"But we managed to get a couple of early wickets and that put pressure on them. When you are chasing, it's important that you have wickets in hand and I think that's where they went wrong.
"Rahul Dravid managed to keep one end intact, but Murali bowled really well and Vaasi bowled really well upfront. A lot of credit should go to our young guys as well for the way they batted in really tough conditions."
"Our chances are pretty good once you carry two points from the group we were in. When westarted, everyone was talking about this being the 'Group of Death'. So, tocarry two points is brilliant," said Jayawardene.
"There are some tough games.We just have to make sure we take one game at a time, like we did in this group.
"I reckon three or four wins will probably secure a spot in the last four. Butwe don't want to look at it that way because if you are winning, it is a very good habit to have. We just want to continue that."

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