The five-wicket defeat to India in a warm-up match ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy will have no significance in the semifinals, said former Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene. The Lankans beat Australia by 20 runs at The Oval on Monday to finish No. 2 in group A of the championship.
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Jayawardene scored an unbeaten 84 to finish Man of the Match as Sri Lanka scored 253 for eight wickets in a must-win game. Nuwan Kulasekara took 3 for 42 Rangana Herath took 2 for 48 to snuff out a late challenge by the Aussies.
The Lankans are travelling to Cardiff on Tuesday to play the tournament's second semi-final against India on Thursday. On Wednesday, England take on South Africa in the first semis at the Oval.
Jayawardene, who reached 11,000 ODI runs on Monday, said the defeat against India in a warm-up game in Birmingham on June 1 was history. India easily chased down Lanka's 333 for five with Virat Kohli and Dinesh Karthik scoring big centuries.
"Warm up games or whatever, it doesn't count right now. It's a big tournament. It's the semifinal, so looking forward to that," said Jayawardene. He however admitted India's batting looked very strong in the tournament.
"I think they're playing some really good cricket. Their batting looks really strong, so those are key areas that we need to focus a bit on," the former Lankan captain said.
On his personal milestone, Jayawardene said: "I didn't feel anything. Obviously, pleased when the numbers came up. I can probably reflect more on that achievement tonight because we won the game as well. So importantly the contribution that I made towards the team is much more valuable for me." Jayawardene said Sri Lanka will be desperate to win the Champions Trophy, that they shared with India after rain washed out the finals in 2002 in Colombo.
"I'll be desperate for every game to win, simple as that. It's not about trophies or whatever, it's just to win matches. So I'll have that same passion and same desperation to win games, doesn't matter if it's a semifinal or final or just a group game. As long as I have that attitude along with the rest of the boys, we'll go a long way," he said.