Sri Lanka's captain Kumar Sangakkara refused to admit that his team were overwhelmed by pace and bounce generated by Australia's fast bowlers on the Kensington Oval pitch, and put down the 81-run defeat to the inability to build partnerships.

"We accepted bounce and pace and we are pretty adept at playing that, but unfortunately we didn't build any partnerships," Sangakkara said. "They only bounced out once which was my dismissal, the rest of the guys probably played far too many shots. The common factor during our entire innings is that we didn't build a partnership.

"You expect the new ball to be difficult and you expect Shaun Tait to bowl with a lot of fire but pace and bounce also creates opportunities to score runs. It's how batsmen try and exploit those conditions that really matter. But unfortunately we didn't do that well today. Being three down after the first six overs we still had the opportunity to recover but we didn't have the patience to really build the partnership.

"Australia is backing themselves with their batsmen to score runs and they back their pace bowlers to try and exploit the conditions at Kensington. We beat them in Nottingham where Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson bowled very well but in quite different conditions. There wasn't so much pace on those tracks, but still it is not a wicket where you can get shot out for 87 no matter how quick someone bowls."

Sri Lanka had their chance to keep Australia down to a small total when they dismissed half the side for 67 by the 11th over, but a crucial miss off Cameron White saw the tide turn against them. White was missed by Ajantha Mendis on 23 when he top edged a sweep off Suraj Randiv, and it took the game away from Sri Lanka.

"Cameron White batted brilliantly and Michael Hussey scored very well," Sangakkara said. "That one chance at short fine leg to get Cameron out was missed. Unfortunately catches like that if you miss in games like this they make you pay and Cameron just did that."

Sri Lanka now faces the prospect of having to beat India on Tuesday to qualify for a semi-final place. "The match against India we are going to win it," Sangakkara said. "That's how we are going to look at it. We've got one win and West Indies has a win. We got everything to play to trying and get into the semi-final."