After two nerve-jangling matches against South Africa and England plus a comfortable win against West Indies we are regrouping and refreshing before the second half of our Super Eights campaign. We are pretty pleased with our progress - five wins in six matches - but we're not taking qualification for the semi-finals for granted. There is still work to be done.
That said, it's nice to have the opportunity for a break. It gives us a chance to relax and also for us to address the niggling injury concerns that dog all teams. The chief concern for us, of course, is Muttiah Muralitharan's groin. There was a slight tweak but we are very optimistic that with some intensive rehab he'll be fighting fit in time for the crucial game against New Zealand on Thursday.
I felt Murali's commitment to the cause in the England game - reminiscent of his astonishing one-legged performance against Australia at Brisbane in the 2003 VB Series when he nearly spun us to victory, claiming 4 for 27 despite a pulled thigh muscle - epitomised the huge contribution the senior guys have been making to this tournament.
Both the old campaigners, Sanath Jayasuriya and Murali, seem to have become younger and hungrier. They're loving their cricket at the moment and that is inspiring for the rest of the team. Despite all the years and all the matches, they want more. That spirit, that love for the game, that commitment to the team is helping to power us.
You can't depend on the big guns all the time. And if you have 11 people willing to put their hands up during critically tense periods then it really augers well
But the big hero in the last game was not one of the normal matchwinners: it was Dilhara Fernando. The finale to the England match proved to be a real test of nerve and Dilhara showed what a long way he has come interms of his character and nerve. He proved he had the mental resilience to be a true matchwinner for Sri Lanka. With two needed for a tie, Ravi Bopara just need to get the ball out of the inner ring and the chances are they could have scrambled home. But Dilhara confounded him - and us - with an unexpected choice of delivery, eschewing the safe and predictable option for a yorker for a good length ball. It was clever and brilliantly executed.
He wanted that final over, putting up his hand to the captain. You need that kind to self-belief and attitude. You can't depend on the big guns all the time. And if you have 11 people willing to put their hands up during critically tense periods then it really augers well.
The closeness of the match provided us with a real test, which may be useful in the long run, but the game should have been finished-off sooner. With hindsight, perhaps, we could perhaps have done a couple of things differently. When the game started we thought the pitch was going to be a belter. It was hard and shiny and we thought a big score was going to be needed. However, we have a policy of open communication with the players in the middle and the message soon filtered back: "This is not what we expected; we need to reassess our target score."
Apparently, there was a fair amount of media criticism of Upul Tharanga for his uncharacteristically slow innings. I don't understand this. He can't be expected to go bang-bang immediately after two wickets had fallen. We had a plan and he executed it brilliantly, working hard to consolidate with Mahela Jayawardene, guiding us to a perfect launching pad.
The win was important for us and we know now that we have an excellent chance of qualifying for the semi-finals if we win one of our three remaining matches. However, we are just taking it match-by-match still. It's important we continue our momentum and qualify in the best possible. Thus we are preparing for the New Zealand match with the same focus and intensity as the earlier games.
I only hope that final three weeks of the tournament see a great injection of life into the stadiums. As Sri Lankans, the rather sterile atmosphere in this tournament has been very strange to experience. We are used to passionate crowds back home and, like West Indians, love all the singing, dancing and music. The passion of West Indian spectators is a treasured part of this beautiful game and, personally, I think its really disappointing that it is being stifled right now. The ICC, no doubt, will have their own valid reasons for some of the restrictions, but getting the balance right for the players, umpires, television viewers, spectators and sponsors needs to be addressed.
It is obvious that the people of the Caribbean love their cricket very deeply. The enthusiasm and interest in us from the locals has been heartwarming, making it a real pleasure to be here. We have been given brilliant receptions throughout the region - even when we beat their own team. I only hope we see some more of the old Caribbean crowd exuberance during the coming games.