London: Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews said an inspirational net session with the legendary Kumar Sangakkara played a key role in his side’s stunning win over defending champions India in a must-win ICC Champions Trophy match here.
Former skipper Sangakkara, who is currently playing for Surrey, spent some time with his country’s youngsters before yesterday’s crucial clash against India.
Mathews thanked Sangakkara for his tips to Kusal Mendis, who made 89 on Thursday, and other young batsmen.
“Yeah, he (Mendis) met Kumar Sangakkara to get a few batting tips, and he’s the king, and we all look up to him. We all get advice from him, all the batters,” Mathews said.
“He taught us a lot of good things on how to play on these tracks. The guys met him and took a lot of advice and went out there and implemented it.”
Sri Lanka were thrashed by South Africa in their opening match last week but bounced back in style to chase down India’s imposing 321-run total at The Oval with seven wickets in hand.
Incidentally, it was Sri Lanka’s joint highest ODI run chase, which also kept alive their hopes of reaching the semi-finals.
Danushka Gunathilaka, who replaced an injured Chamara Kapugedera, struck a fine 76 off 72 balls while Mendis made 89 as the duo shared 159 runs for the second wicket to lay the foundation for the run chase.
“Mind you, to walk into a game knowing that he (Danushka) wasn’t even in the 15 and Kapugedera got injured, and he had to step in and to open the batting against a very strong opposition, it was fantastic the way he batted.