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June 19, 2012
Allrounder Angelo Mathews copes with pressure 'better than anybody else', according to Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene. His unbeaten 80 that took Sri Lanka to victory in the match and the series against Pakistan on Monday should silence his critics, Jayawardene said.
"A lot of people ask about his role in the team and he justified his place," he said. "I don't know why this question keeps popping up. Angelo has done well with the ball and he has done well with the bat. He is a quality allrounder and he handles pressure than anybody else I've seen.
"It's not the first time he has done this for us, he has done it quite often. Some of the other times he has bought us close and maybe hasn't been able to finish the game off, but from nowhere he has the ability to bring us into the game."
Jayawardene put his team's success in the series down to them having handled challenges better than Pakistan. "We handled most of the tough situations better than the Pakistanis, and the fielding standards were much better that was the difference in the series.
"It wasn't an easy series and we knew that is how it would be from the beginning; credit to the entire team for working really hard. A lot of guys showed a lot of composure in handling difficult situations … Thisara [Perera], Lasith [Malinga], Kula [Nuwan Kulasekara], and with the bat most of the guys. What's important is that we take forward the positives from the series."
This is the first ODI series win for Sri Lanka since they made the World Cup final in April 2011, and Jayawardene said he hoped the victory would put his team in the right frame of mind for the Tests that begin in Galle on Friday. "We've played some really good cricket, but we didn't have anything to show for it; it has been a lot of hard work in the last 12 months for us, and hopefully continue to improve as a team.
"The Test series is always going to be big challenge, but winning is a good habit to have so hopefully we can continue this momentum. We have some experienced players coming in for the Tests. It's going to be a great opportunity for us. It's important that we start fresh and start well."
Plays of the day from the CLT20 match between Dolphins and Lahore Lions in Bangalore
The Plays of the day from the CLT20 match between Kings XI Punjab and Northern Knights, in Mohali
Though derided and sometimes ridiculed, county cricket still holds the key for the future of the game in England and if all involved believed in it just a little more, it could produce an even greater harvest