SL in semis, wary of India's batting might

SL in semis, wary of India's batting might

The five-wicket defeat to India in a warm-up match ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy will have no significance when Sri Lanka square off against the same opponents in the semifinals, said Mahela Jayawardene. The Lankans beat Australia by 20 runs at The Oval on Monday night to finish second in Group A.

Jayawardene, who reached 11,000 ODI runs on Monday, said the defeat against India in a warm-up game in Birmingham  on June 1 was history. India easily chased down Lanka’s 333 for five with Virat Kohli and Dinesh Karthik scoring big centuries.
“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,” said Jayawardene.

Jayawardene scored an unbeaten 84 to win the man-of-the-match award as Sri Lanka scored 253 for the loss of eight wickets in a must-win game.

While defending Nuwan Kulasekara took 3/42 and Rangana Herath scalped 2/48 to snuff out a late challenge by the Aussies.

The Lankans travelled to Cardiff on Tuesday to play the tournament’s second semifinal against India on Thursday. On Wednesday, England take on South Africa in the first semifinal at The Oval.

Jayawardene, however, admitted that India’s batting looked very strong in the tournament. “I think they’re playing some really good cricket. Their batting looks really strong, so those are key areas that we need to focus a bit on,” the former Lankan captain said.

On his personal milestone of reaching 11,000-run club, Jayawardene said: “I didn’t feel anything. Obviously, pleased when the numbers came up. I can tonight probably reflect more on that achievement because we won the game as well. Importantly the contribution that I made towards the team is much more valuable for me.”

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