Sanga and Sri Lanka batting put us under pressure – Clarke

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SYDNEY: Australian captain Michael Clarke admitted that Kumar Sangakkara and the rest of the Sri Lanka batting had put his team under pressure during their run chase in the World Cup Pool A match played at the SCG on Sunday.

Australia courtesy of a power packed maiden hundred from Glenn Maxwell ran up an impressive 376-9 and then bowled Sri Lanka out for 312 to win the contest by 64 runs, but for a better part of the run chase Sri Lanka were well in the hunt and within range of their target with Sangakkara playing the lead role.  

“The whole Sri Lankan batting innings I thought they played really well, and well under pressure, there's no doubt about it,” said Clarke. “We had to continue to take wickets. Again, our attitude was we've got to find a way to take wickets, and it shows how far the game has come now that you can even think about chasing 375 runs. It's the skill of the players; it's the work they put in.

“Credit to the grounds staff here at the Sydney Cricket Ground I thought that wicket was exceptional. I looked at it yesterday, and I certainly didn't think it was going to play the way it played today. Didn't spin anywhere near as much as I thought it would spin, and it was slow, but it wasn't too slow. It had enough pace in it.

“Tommy Parker deserves a lot of credit for producing a fantastic cricket wicket, and then you've seen two teams going at it, doing our best. Maxie's hundred was a standout for me, but Sangakkara again and the whole Sri Lankan batting order put us under pressure, that's for sure.”

Sri Lanka off-spinner Sachitra Senanayake playing his first World Cup game expressed his feeling of how difficult it was to bowl to batsmen like Maxwell, AB de Villiers and a few other hard hitting batters who have the ability to hit balls at will.

“Actually I feel bad. The thing is players like Maxwell, and AB, they are taking so many runs. If they are playing 50 balls they are easily getting 100 runs. It's a very bad from a bowler’s point of view. We’ll have to think of something new to stop them, but it’s hard,” said Senanayake.

“Playing my first World Cup was very tough. Australia and New Zealand are two of the best teams in the competition. As this was my first experience in the World Cup, I wanted to bowl pretty well. I thought the wicket will help us, but unfortunately it didn’t. The wicket was very good. I'm disappointed with myself. Actually I wanted to bowl really well but I didn't and I couldn't take any wickets. Hopefully if I get another chance, I'll do it,” he said.

Sri Lanka’s run chase ended abruptly when Dinesh Chandimal was forced to retire hurt after pulling a hamstring while attempting a second run. At that point of time Sri Lanka were going on merrily with Chandimal and skipper Angelo Mathews in a partnership of 80.

“Dinesh batted really well and if he was there he and Angelo could have chased down that total easily. But at that moment he couldn’t even run,” said Senanayake.

“We have been a little hard done by the spate of injuries. It's unfortunate actually, we missed Rangana Herath and now there is Chandimal, We lost Dimuth (Karunaratne) also. We're having a bad period in this World Cup, but hopefully we are in the quarter-finals,” he said.

Sri Lanka play their final Pool A match have a game against Scotland at Hobart on Wednesday.

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