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Wisden Cricinfo staff
August 21, 2004
Marvan Atapattu and Graeme Smith had plenty to say after the emotional, nerve-wracking first one-dayer, which Sri Lanka won with just six balls to spare:
On Sri Lanka's performance
To start with, it wasn't our best performance on the field, but having said that, having come back to the dressing-room we wanted to make up for what happened in the Asia Cup against India when we lost by four runs chasing 270-odd. It was a good pitch and it did not deteriorate as much as people would have thought. It was low but good for batting.
On the run-chase
As Graeme [Smith] said we were able to pick up singles easily for a short while in the middle of the innings. But we planned the chase in such a way that the required rate never lifted above seven. It was under six for most of the time. And we ensured that we still had batsmen remaining at the end.
On Kaushal Lokuarachchi's return to the team
Lokuarachchi only went out of the team because of a few unfortunate incidents, but he is a competitive player and can contribute to the team in all three aspects of the game.
On the importance of the win for the series
It is definitely good to have won the first game of the series. But they are a good, competitive side. Not many sides would have put 260 on the board. Even in the Asia Cup we did not see many of those kind of scores. It's just that on the day we played better.
On Sri Lanka's revival
Credit should go to everybody, from the manager down to the 15th player. Everyone is contributing. Everything has fallen into place. People are taking responsibility and everyone wants to do well. When those things fall into shape it is so much easier to be the captain.
On the game
At the end of the day 263 should have been enough for us. But if I look at the bowling, we did well in the first 15 to keep them to 70, as against the new ball the wicket was probably at its easiest. Our problem was from the 15-overs mark in the middle when we couldn't contain enough runs. With the spinner bowling they were going at six or seven per over without taking too many risks. The boys fought well to get back to where we were, but Sri Lanka played well at the death.
On whether South Africa have the right attack for Sri Lankan conditions
I am not going to sit here and moan about my bowling attack because I know there is nothing better. We have got to work, challenge the guys and get things right. We talk enough and we practise enough and there is nothing more we can do. The guys have got to take responsibility and go and do things in the middle.
On whether the new-look batting order worked
We are looking to get our strikers into the game a little earlier to keep sides under pressure and take more advantage of the middle periods. When you try something new there is always going to be some working-through, but I'm pretty happy with how it went today.
On the commitment of the players
The boys gave it everything and there was huge disappointment in the dressing-room. We can't ask for anything more in terms of commitment. We questioned the team's commitment, and the pride and the passion for playing for your country after the Test match, but the guys gave everything today. We just need a little bit of a luck change. I am pretty sure we are close.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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