Sri Lanka have not played a single out-and-out bad game in this tournament. Yet they lost their first three matches. They were not efficient in finishing the opposition off, they were not starting their innings well, and even if they recovered they would fall away towards the end. In the last two games, though, they seem to have overcome those flaws.
As they were in Sydney, against Australia, Sri Lanka were emphatic against India, in Brisbane, right from the start. Mahela Jayawardene's move to the top of the order has worked. He added 95 with Tillakaratne Dilshan to lay the foundation for a big finish. Lahiru Thirimanne, woefully out of form until today, rid Sri Lanka of a big headache with a fluent half-century. Then the bowlers nearly ran through India's batting.
If there was a complaint, it was about the fielding. Three catches were dropped, denying Sri Lanka the bonus point, which could yet prove crucial in the final standings. "Apart from that, we played a pretty good match," captain Jayawardene said. "We made a few mistakes - the dropped catches - and probably should have been able to push for that bonus point. The Indian batting line-up is very strong so if you give them opportunities they do bat well.
"We were put under pressure in certain situations, but our boys bowled really well, in good areas, and created opportunities. With the new ball we picked up wickets again, which is great. It was pretty much a complete game apart from those couple of dropped catches."
Jayawardene did not want to dwell on what might have been had Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina, who stitched together a partnership of 92 that reduced the margin of victory, not received let-offs. "Yes we dropped a few catches, but it's still not the end of the world. We scored 290, that's a decent score with two new balls. We are playing with different rules these days as well. The Powerplays are different, the two new balls are different, so everyone has to adjust."
Sri Lanka's three allrounders - Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera and Farveez Maharoof - have worked a treat. "Not only him [Perera], Mahroof as well, the two allrounders with two new balls are giving me a lot of options. It also allows Angelo's workload to be monitored; it is good that he is not bowling too much."
Jayawardene is pleased the side is finally finishing off games. "It was a crucial game for us. We did not have a good start to this tour. We had to come back strongly, which we have done. We have played some consistent cricket even though we lost the first few games, and now we are trying to finish games off; we are executing all our game plans and hopefully, with this momentum, we can win a few more as well and try and get ourselves into the finals."
Edited by Dustin Silgardo