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Cricket World Cup: Tillakaratne Dilshan column

Sri Lanka's Tillakaratne Dilshan waves to supporters after winning the Man of the Match award
Dilshan says he had a special plan to bowl against England captain Andrew Strauss and Ian Bell

By Sri Lanka batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan
BBC exclusive

It was a great day personally for me and the Sri Lankan team as a whole.

We played a very good game of cricket today. Credit should go to the whole Sri Lankan team for a very good all-round performance.

Losing the toss in R Premadasa stadium was a slight disadvantage but we knew it was a very good wicket for the batsmen.

We had a team meeting on Friday during which it was decided that I was to bowl with the new ball.

We knew England skipper Andrew Strauss is a dangerous batsman and things would go their way if we allowed him to get into the runs.

We knew if we got Strauss as early as possible, it would be easy to wrap up the others so I had a special plan to bowl to him and Ian Bell and I think it worked well.

Strauss tried to hit some shots but I think during the first four overs I bowled really well with the correct line and length.

England captain Andrew Strauss shakes hands with Sri Lanka opener Upul Tharanga
I think Upal Tharanga and I are our best opening combination

Not only during this World Cup, I plan to contribute to the team as a bowler in the future.

And we knew that the new ball was the correct time to get the momentum going. As a result, we managed to keep their score under 230 at a stadium where any total less than 250 is gettable.

Overall Muttiah Muralitharan and all the other bowlers played really well in reducing England to 229-6.

Yes we did have a couple of dropped catches and misfielding incidents. We know we need to correct that before Tuesday's semi-final against New Zealand and the team is confident that we can do that and come back stronger.

Personally I was waiting for another big score after my century against Zimbabwe. I am really happy I have now scored two hundreds during this tournament, which is a huge advantage to the team, and am looking forward to carrying on this form for hopefully the next couple of matches.

With Upul Tharanga I had a great partnership, we have had very good partnerships since last year.

If I am not among the runs, he releases the pressure on me by getting into the attack and scoring runs for a few overs. I think this is the best opening combination for us.

When I scored the century, I wanted Tharanga to follow - he was just two or three runs short of his hundred, so I did not play aggressive shots. I wanted to boost his confidence, too.

We need to help each other and celebrate each player's success.

On Tuesday, we need to come strongly against New Zealand.

We have defeated them once during the tournament in difficult conditions in India. But we are not complacent, it is a new game for us so we need to play with our full strength.

I have no doubt that we can beat New Zealand if we continue the very good cricket we are playing at the moment.

I am confident that we will be qualified for the finals. Although I had a cramp while batting, I am fully fit to face them.

But we are not thinking whether it is India or Pakistan in the final; we are taking one match at a time.

Tillakaratne Dilshan was speaking to Saroj Pathirana of the BBC Sinhala Service.

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see also
Sri Lanka knock out jaded England
26 Mar 11 |  England
Strauss bemoans schedule on exit
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S Lanka row over cricket tickets
25 Mar 11 |  South Asia
Tillakaratne Dilshan World Cup column
25 Mar 11 |  Sri Lanka
Tillakaratne Dilshan World Cup column
10 Mar 11 |  Sri Lanka
Tillakaratne Dilshan World Cup column
06 Mar 11 |  Sri Lanka
Tillakaratne Dilshan World Cup column
26 Feb 11 |  Sri Lanka
Record stand helps Sri Lanka win
10 Mar 11 |  Cricket
Efficient Pakistan beat Sri Lanka
26 Feb 11 |  Cricket
Cricket World Cup 2011
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