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Wisden Cricinfo staff
March 20, 2004
Shane Warne dashed Sri Lanka's hopes quickly on the fifth morning, taking two of the three wickets as Australia wrapped up the win to take the series 2-0. Here is what Warne and Ricky Ponting had to say after the match:
On his performance
Personally, if I had written the script before I was selected, to come and take 20 wickets and two ten-fors and win the series two-zip, I think Simone [his wife] would have tapped me on the shoulder and said I was dreaming. I couldn't have asked for it to go any better, but I suppose it is a credit to me for working as hard as I have over the last six weeks, both on fitness and on my bowling, batting and catching. I don't think I could have bowled much better than I have in the last couple of Test matches.
On the possibility of beating Courtney Walsh's record of 519 Test wickets
I didn't really think about it at all, but I suppose now I have 511 with nine to get, so if I bowl as well as I bowled in this one and it is a turning wicket, then I suppose there is a chance.
On his minor altercation with Nuwan Zoysa
Obviously he was sent out there to offput me, and he was putting his bat [at the non-striker's end] where I was putting my foot. But Steve Bucknor had it under control, and it just fired me up more than anything.
On his thoughts going into the final morning
I was a little bit anxious as I thought it was a 50-50 game with the way the outfield was and the way they bat. They can all hit, and are not tailenders that hang around and block. A couple of bad balls and overs and a few nicks here and there and they would have got the runs. I had a plan this morning and had a good chat with Ricky Ponting. He asked me what end I wanted and we discussed fields. To the left-hander I was going to bowl fast legbreaks round the wicket and for the right-hander I was going to try to get him lbw or caught at slip, so I did not need a bat-pad. The plan worked, I suppose.
On the Test series so far
There hasn't been much between both sides. One area we can improve is the first-innings batting, which has been pretty ordinary in both games - 220 in the first Test on a very good wicket, and 120 here. The way we fought and hung in there and have been able to turn those performances around to win has been very pleasing.
On his thoughts going into the final day
We only had 50 runs to play with. You've got to take their strengths out of the game and make them hit the ball in different areas. We knew that they were going to be under pressure trying to win a Test match on the last day.
On Chaminda Vaas's aggressive batting
I think it was his approach in both innings. He took to the bowlers, particularly the spinners. He did look on edge this morning, and looked as if he wanted to get things over and done with quickly, but cricket is the sort of game [where] you can't relax at all at any stage, especially as a batsman. He holed out on the boundary and that's where things changed for us.
On that man Warne ...
He's bowled beautifully. You wouldn't want anyone else to be bowling for you in a game to be won when there's a lot of pressure on. He is one of the alltime greats of the game.
On the Warne-Zoysa altercation
He [Zoysa] was actually standing very close to the stumps and Shane felt that he was getting in the way if a return catch came. I haven't seen that happen before, and the batsman was actually turning and facing Warney as he was walking in his run-up. We had the last laugh when he was out a couple of balls later.
On the pitch
This was an excellent wicket. I expected it to deteriorate a lot more than it did. The first morning there was a bit of moisture around. It looked a bit dusty underneath it and we thought it might dust and turn a bit more as it has done here in previous games. It held together really well.
On winning the series in Sri Lanka
It's a great achievement to win here. It says a lot about our team. We simply had our backs to the wall early on in these two Test matches and have been able to turn around and win. We know what this means to us. We spoke about this for a long time about coming here and winning here and in India. I guess we have taken one step today.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.