August 6, 2001

Jayasuriya: I didn't expect it to be that easy

Sri Lankan captain and player of the series Sanath Jayasuriya said he didn't expect India to go down so tamely in the final of the Coca-Cola Cup which his side won by 121 runs, "Honestly, I didn't think we could win the game that easily" said Jayasuriya.

Sri Lanka after an inconsistent performance with the bat in the league matches came up with their best performance of the series to clinch the trophy. The coach of the side, Dav Whatmore feels it's like reserving the best for the last, "It was like we saving the best for the last. Probably we played the best cricket of the tournament today" remarked Whatmore.

Captain Jayasuriya revealed that things worked for them right from the start. "The first important thing was that we won the toss. We needed to keep wickets intact in the first few overs that too was achieved. And then we had the feeling that we need lot of runs on the board and the middle order clicked at the right moment."

However, the Sri Lankan captain missed out on a well deserved century when he spooned a catch to his counterpart Sourav Ganguly at short midwicket when he was on 99. Replying to a question on whether he was disappointed in missing out on another hundred the Sri Lankan captain said, "No not at all. It's a part of the game. It's normal. I was worried that I couldn't stay till the 40th over. But I tell you I am really happy." Sri Lanka having made 295 made early inroads into the Indian innings and the introduction of Muttiah Murilitharan the strike bowler of the Sri Lankan team was delayed until the 23rd over of the match,

"We discussed a few things and one of them was the Murali issue - when we should bring him into the attack. He is a classy player, but if we brought him on in the middle overs he could have put up lot of pressure on the opposition" said the Sri Lanka coach Dav Whatmore on their tactic of holding back Muralitharan till the middle overs.

Russel Arnold deserved the Man of the Match award for his all round performance in the match. He made 52 in 45 balls and got the wicket of Yuvraj Singh, effected the run out of Virender Shewag and in the very next ball took a superb catch at backward of point to send back Indian captain Sourav Ganguly.

Arnold, speaking of his batting performance admitted that the hard work done early in the innings was crucial, "The earlier batsmen had done a good job in the middle after we decided to bat first. That made my task easy. If we hadn't got off to a good start we would have struggled in the middle overs. In fact Kalu and I struggled initially. But we had nothing to panic about since we were going along at a good run rate" revealed Arnold who collected his second man of the match award of the Coca-Cola Cup.