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03 December 2023

Bring on Pakistan, say confident Sri Lanka

Jayawardene’s century was the fourth fastest in the tournament’s history. (AP)


Former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene said his team was looking forward to their first real test in the World Cup against Pakistan after crushing Canada in their opening match.

Jayawardene gave the 1996 champions a flying start with an 80-ball century to help his team to a solid 332-7 before dismissing Canada for 122, taking their opening Group A match by a huge 210-run margin.
They next face 1992 champions Pakistan in a glamour match on Saturday in Colombo.
“The first game in a tournament is always very important. We started with the right tone and now we look forward to our next match against Pakistan who are a very good side,” said Jayawardene.
“Pakistan have got some great individual players and we play them quite often and we know how dangerous they can be, so we have to do our homework right and prepare ourselves and go in with a very positive mindset.
“I think everyone is looking for an opportunity to play against Pakistan.”
Jayawardene, whose century was the fourth fastest in the tournament’s history, admitted he didn’t know he had also made the quickest World Cup hundred by a Sri Lankan.
“I didn’t know that until the last minute when they told me, but I am quite happy it was a good start for us,” said Jayawardene, who beat Sanath Jayasuriya’s 85-ball hundred against Bangladesh at Port of Spain four years ago.
Jayawardene also praised Canada’s initial bowling efforts.
“There were a few nerves before the game started just to get on with the World Cup, especially in front of our home crowd,” said the veteran batsman.
“It’s not easy to play a team like Canada. You need to make sure and they bowled well initially,” said he said.
Jayawardene praised his players’ attitude.
“I think the boys had a right attitude going into the game. We were very positive with the ball on the field as well, and the most important thing was to keep wickets in hand and then Kumar (Sangakkara, 92) and myself gave impetus.”
Jayawardene added an invaluable 179 for the third wicket with his skipper after Tillakaratne Dilshan set the platform with a brisk 50.