India v Sri Lanka, Asia Cup, Fatullah February 28, 2014

'We did those little things right' - Mathews

ESPNcricinfo staff

Mathews hails match-winner Sangakkara

Sri Lanka have won their first two matches of the Asia Cup, beating their two strongest opponents, Pakistan and India. Both were close matches, and Angelo Mathews, Sri Lanka's captain, said they had won because they had grabbed the important moments.

"We've been winning those close games," Mathews said. "Once again it was a nervous game but we do those little things right. But we need to play better cricket against stronger teams. Today also I think we could have won it a bit easier than what it was in the end because the middle order collapsed."

Mathews said Kumar Sangakkara's 84-ball 103, the fastest century of his career, which came on a slow pitch that other batsmen from both sides had struggled to score quickly on, was one of the best innings he had seen.

"He's a true champion," Mathews said. "Has done it for the past so many years. Once again when the team needed, he delivered. It was a treat to watch him bat and it was one of the best innings I have seen in the recent past and most importantly he got us through. I am really happy with the way he batted."

Sri Lanka had picked three spinners for this match, and it helped the team that they won the toss and avoided bowling when the dew came into play. Asked about this, Mathews said Sri Lanka had the resources to win even if they had batted first.

"We were geared up for both batting or bowling first," he said. "But we wanted to chase as the dew comes in to play. Wicket was slow so we played [Ajantha] Mendis in place of [Suranga] Lakmal. Had we lost the toss India would have bowled first as well. Bowling second is not tricky because it turned with Jadeja and Ashwin as well. So it was tricky for our batsmen as well. We have the allrounders too with Sachithra at eight and Mendis at nine. We have the batting depth so we were up for the challenge if we had to bat first as well."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sudath on March 2, 2014, 6:55 GMT

    Yes, India lost because they dropped some catches. Unfortunately in cricket you have to catch the 'catch', if not you can't get the batsman out. The little thing Mathews did right was electing to bowl first, and with their team mates scoring the required marks within the 40 overs entitled. Two umpires umpired both the innings, and match was played in a neutral venue. ha ha ha . Forget finding excuses, and think of a trick or two for today's game that brings out best of the game.

  • Randika on March 1, 2014, 20:11 GMT

    siddhartha87: you've got a well respected name my friend, try to be reasonable I comments. If you've actually played competitive cricket you will know what those little things are. Yes Sanga master stroke got us over the line, but if you honestly think that a single innings is the only contributory factor to a team win, I'm afraid I won't be wasting time talking to you I the future. Little things are things such as converting the ones in to twos, calling correctly for. Runs, not making fielding blunders, calling for high catches early and clearly, knowing when to accelerate when batting and when to drop anchor. Need I say more?

  • Gurunath on March 1, 2014, 13:09 GMT

    Kohli has lot to learn from legends like Sangakarra. look at the way he celebrate after that fantastic ton.actually no celebration at all. team objectives are greater than personal milestones!

  • aniket on March 1, 2014, 12:54 GMT

    The mother of all cricket matches is tommorow, 100 times better than ashes, a game which has record for highest viewership in history of cricket. Yes, its INDIA V/S PAKISTAN guys. Boy, r u excited.

  • Ammad on March 1, 2014, 10:01 GMT

    Well what a match it was- simply a nail biting contest! Hats off to the winners for staying calm and let's see how it goes on in the future. All eyes on the BIG match, yes you've got it right- Ind vs Pak! This would decide many things!

  • Android on March 1, 2014, 9:23 GMT

    Yeah even I am wondering what those little things were. Angelos post match conferences are always fun and mostly irrelevant. The one that sticks to my memory is when SL tried to be defensive and set an impossible target hoping for a draw but Pakistan scored at more than 5 an over and turned it into an ODI and won the Test. He then tried to argue that he wasnt being defensive by batting too slow too long. MSD also comes out with someone classics.

  • Android on March 1, 2014, 9:20 GMT

    GayanganaSL. I dont think Gentlemanship is decided by how a batsman celebrates. Sanga didnt celeberate because he was more focused on getting the remaining runs and didnt want a break in his competition.

  • Android on March 1, 2014, 9:17 GMT

    @Praveen SM. In the last game SL won more because of suicidal Pakistan batting than good SL death bowling. Please check your facts.

  • sri on March 1, 2014, 8:16 GMT

    We can all talk about ifs and buts but the difference to me was mendis. India was cruising at one stage and he first dismissed kholi and then kncoked out the middle order but 264 on slow pitch was decent but not enough with this brittle bowling/fielding unit.

  • Gayangana on March 1, 2014, 8:10 GMT

    I think everyone can understand who is the GENTLEMAN from the celebration of Kholi s century against Banglas and Sanga s century against Indians in a tough situation

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