Win over England will see Sri Lanka shed their ‘fear’, feels Mahela Jayawardene

Win over England will see Sri Lanka shed their ‘fear’, feels Mahela Jayawardene

Sri Lanka with 6 points sit on the 5th spot in the points table after that win.

Mahela Jayawardene
Mahela Jayawardene. (Photo by Getty Images)

Sri Lanka’s unexpected victory over firm favourites England at Headingley by 20 runs on Friday has opened up the ICC World Cup 2019. The former world champions had just one win from five matches till they took on England but after the conclusion of the game, they pulled them up to the fifth position in the pool with six points from as many games. Led by veteran pacer Lasith Malinga’s 4 for 43, the Asians shocked the mighty English batting line-up to revive their hopes in the tournament.

Former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene, who had led his team to the final of the 2007 edition and hit a hundred in the final of the 2011 edition, felt positive after Friday’s result. He said things should now change for the better after Sri Lanka, as he felt, “played with a little bit of fear”.

Sri Lanka’s only win in the tournament before they humbled England was against the bottom-placed Afghanistan who they beat in a low-scoring affair. That apart, they got two points from two wash-out games and were thrashed by New Zealand (by 10 wickets) and Australia (by 87 runs). They deserved all the credit for successfully defending a moderate score of 232 against England.

Hope this game will give SL lot of confidence

“I hope this game will give Sri Lanka a lot of confidence in this ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup. They have beaten one of the best teams in the world, and they need to believe in themselves,” the 42-year-old Jayawardene wrote in his column for the ICC.

“At times it feels like they have played with a little bit of fear and have not been able to really express themselves. This win should change that.”

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Jayawardene particularly praised Malinga, who had played under him in the World Cup in past, saying the latter has done it for his side over the years and it was great to see him producing it yet again. The veteran pacer, who was picked as the man of the match, got rid of England’s top three James Vince, Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root besides the dangerous Jos Buttler. He also came close to pick his fifth as Ben Stokes was dropped in the final ball of his spell.