Lankan skipper says legend Malinga is an example | Sunday Observer

Lankan skipper says legend Malinga is an example

Lasith Malinga bowls during his four wicket haul (AFP)
Lasith Malinga bowls during his four wicket haul (AFP)

LEEDS, Saturday – Sri Lanka skipper Dimuth Karunaratne showered praise on his legendary bowler Lasith Malinga and cited him as an example for everyone to follow after the seasoned campaigner had bowled his team to a dramatic 20-run win over World Cup favourites England at Headingley here on Friday.

Malinga who was named Man of the Match took four wickets for 43 run as Sri Lanka defended their moderate total of 232-9 splendidly to bowl out England for 212 in 47 overs and keep alive their chances of place in the semi-finals.

“Malinga knows what he has to do. Whatever he does, we know he is giving his best. So that is why I said to him, if you want to go home and come back that is fine. He did that and came back and set a good example for the other guys,” said Karunaratne at the post-match press conference.

The 35-year-old pacie was given permission to return to Colombo to attend the funeral of his mother-in-law and returned in time to play the World Cup game against Australia.

“Malinga just keeps doing what he does best, that is the main thing. We want him to set an example for the youngsters and he did a really good job,” said Karunaratne. “So too did Dhananjaya, they both did a really good job and turned the game, those are the sort of performances that turn games,” he said.

Dhananjaya de Silva played as an off-spinner in the World Cup picked up three crucial wickets in the middle overs to hasten Sri Lanka’s charge as they scented an unlikely victory against an England side that had only four days ago thumped a massive 397-6 against Afghanistan which included a world record 25 sixes in the innings.

Sri Lanka who won the toss and decided to bat first lost both their openers Karunaratne and Kusal Perera who had given them good starts in the tournament, cheaply. But Avishka Fernando playing in his first World Cup match and Kusal Mendis repaired the early damage and following their dismissals it was left to another experienced campaigner Angelo Mathews (85 not out) to see his team to a decent total on a pitch that was beginning to play slower and slower.

“It looked like a good flat wicket that played nicely but when we played on it, you could see it got slower and slower,” Karunaratne said. “Angelo told us it was getting slower and slower, we couldn’t get to 280-300 but we could get to 240 and that would be a good total.

“Angelo is a good finisher and he did a really good job. He read the game very well on this track. The middle order was important once the openers got out and he did a good job,” he said.

Commenting on the surface Karunaratne said: “The wicket gave us an advantage, we thought we had a chance. But we needed to take a couple of wickets and we were in the game.”

England captain Eoin Morgan said that his team didn’t deserve to win the way they played. “There were a couple of challenges that presented themselves with the wicket and we didn’t overcome them. Quite a few wickets were turning points, simply in the fact that you have got guys coming in at six, who average 40, seven who average 30, we bat all the way down. So every single wicket is quite important because every single one could have salvaged a partnership that could win you the game,” said Morgan.

To get into the semi-finals Sri Lanka have to win their remaining three games against South Africa, West Indies and India while England have three tough games to play against Australia, India and New Zealand.

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