Sanath Jayasuriya: "As long as I am playing well and performing that's the only thing that I worry about."
He's nearing 40, but Sanath Jayasuriya, who says age does not worry him, seems to be enjoying the shortest version of cricket. Today, he dominated Trent Bridge, smacking 81 off 47 balls to lead Sri Lanka to a 15-run win over West Indies.
The win ensured a 100% record for Sri Lanka in Group C, the 'group of death', and though it came in an inconsequential match, will help Sri Lanka - who fielded an unchanged side from their previous win against Australia - continue the momentum into the Super Eights.
Jayasuriya, along with Tillakaratne Dilshan - whom he compared to Romesh Kaluwitharana, his comrade in arms in the World Cup-winning team of 1996 - launched Sri Lanka's innings in imposing fashion with an opening partnership of 124. His confident strokeplay ensured the run-rate never dropped below ten. "When I drove through extra cover in the second over, I knew it was a perfect shot and that I was hitting the ball really well," Jayasuriya said. "I needed to continue so I just watched the ball and if it was pitched in my zone, I always hit it hard. Everything was working well for me today. As long as I am playing well and performing that's the only thing that I worry about, age does not worry me."
Jayasuriya regretted missing out on scoring Sri Lanka's first Twenty20 international century, but said he was focused on getting more runs on the board. "It's a bit disappointing because whoever is set is expected to bat the full 20 overs, but at the end of the day as a player and as a team we wanted to win the game."
He praised Dilshan, who at times outshone him in strokeplay as he completed his second fifty of the tournament. "Dilshan is playing really well and you get a lot of confidence when you are at the other end with him," Jayasuriya said. "Some of the shots Dilshan plays are unbelievable, especially the flick shot over the wicketkeeper's head. I can't improvise the way he does and I haven't even thought of it. It is a bit dangerous but Dilshan is brave enough to play it. The way he played allowed me to play my natural game. Opening with him reminded me of the days when I had Kaluwitharana as my partner when we won the World Cup."
With Sri Lanka in the Super Eights, Jayasuriya said they were taking one match at a time. Their next opponents are Pakistan on Friday and he is confident that with the variety they have in their bowling line-up they stand a good chance in the tournament.