London: Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara on Thursday described his match-winning unbeaten knock of 134 against England in the Champions Trophy as one of the best innings of his career.
"Yeah, it has to be. And I am pretty happy about it and am all the more so as we won the match and we kept ourselves alive in the tournament," Sangakkara said when asked if it was one of his best knocks. (England vs Sri Lanka - As it happened)
He also gave credit to Mahela Jayawardene and Nuwan Kulasekara for his side's win. (Ton-up Sangakkara blows away England)
"We had to play well at the start, see off Jimmy Anderson but Mahela played really well and we got on top of it. (Match in Pics)
Kulasekara took the pressure off me and those two big overs, off Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad, were decisive," said Sangakkara after guiding his side to a seven-wicket win over England at the Oval here.
Sangakkara, who was adjudged man-of-the-match, said his side would now focus on beating Australia in their last Group A match to book a berth in the semifinals.
"That's the Champions Trophy for you, the pressure is on, players aspire to play in it. I'm pleased to have done well today. We've got to win another one, the Aussies are a tough outfit so we'll have to prepare well."
Captain Angelo Mathews was all praise for Sangakkara for his match-winning knock.
"We needed this win, to be honest. We started confidently and the bowlers were really good in the middle overs, we just had one go for 20 runs near the end," he said.
"Sanga batted really well, it's great to have a player like him at number three. We had a chat at the break with the batters, thought it might swing and seam a little but the pitch played really well," he said.
Asked about the promotion of Nuwan Kulasekara up the order, which paid off today, Mathews said, "The management decided (to promote Kula), he's been batting really well and it paid off.
"The last game we were rusty, in the field missing catches but we can keep improving," he added.
England captain Alastair Cook gave credit to the Sri Lankans and said they deserved to win the match.
"Obviously that was an outstanding hundred, any time you chase 300 someone has to play well. The pitch quickened up but sometimes you have to say credit where it's due," he said.
"The rate was always seven, we could have taken a couple more wickets but they played well. It was very hard to get the ball to reverse swing and it was changed after 21 overs. I thought 300 was about par. If you add another 20 runs on that would probably have been enough. My innings, I couldn't quite get it away.
"We have to win one of these two games, hopefully we'll come back strongly at Cardiff (against New Zealand)."