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Updated: March 9, 2014 01:10 IST

Skipper Mathews a ‘relieved’ man

Sports Reporter
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Lasith Malinga... celebrating five!
AP Lasith Malinga... celebrating five!

Angelo Mathews expressed relief at “breaking the barrier” of losing in the finals after Sri Lanka beat Pakistan in the Asia Cup summit clash on Saturday.

“There’s always been a barrier between Sri Lanka and finals. It’s pleasing to win this tournament. We haven't won a major tournament in quite a while.”

The Sri Lanka skipper also praised the efforts of Lahiru Thirimanne, Lasith Malinga, and Mahela Jayawardene.

“Thirimanne has been very good. Guys like Thirimanne and Dinesh Chandimal will have big shoes to fill when Mahela and [Kumar] Sangakkara retire. Malinga has been a brilliant bowler for so many years.”

Mathews also justified playing Sachithra Senanayake in place of Ajantha Mendis. “It was a tough call, but Senanayake has been doing well recently. Today was a rare off day for him.”

Having been in Bangladesh for six weeks now, Mathews said his team was consistently good.

‘Bad day’

Misbah-ul-Haq rued the “bad day” that his bowlers endured. “You can’t win matches with only one bowler [Saeed Ajmal] performing. It was a slow wicket that required accuracy. Our lengths were short and we also gave too much width.”

Defending the decision to bat, the Pakistan captain said: “It was a big game and we wanted to put the pressure on the opposition by putting runs on the board. But Malinga really put us under pressure early on.”

Misbah noted that there were several positives to take home. “The batting has been very good. Ahmed Shehzad performed well. Fawad [Alam] has been very impressive and consistent over the last few years. He was fantastic in both the matches he played,” he said.

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Sri Lanka regains crown with easeMarch 8, 2014

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