Cricket

Honestly, it was easy for me: Sri Lanka's Thirimanne on his cracking ton against England

Lahiru Thirimanne was speaking with the media after Sri Lanka's win over England. You can also listen to the full press conference in the audio widget above.

Q. You must be pretty happy with the way things have gone for you in the tournament so far?
LAHIRU THIRIMANNE: Yes, absolutely. I have missed only one match against Afghanistan other than that I scored runs, so very happy about my performance.

Q. Batting with Sangakarra, what was the confidence that he got playing off that?
LAHIRU THIRIMANNE: Yeah, I think he played a tremendous knock today that eases the pressure because at that time run rate was about 7, 7.5, so when he came to bat he just rotated the strike and hit boundaries. So it was easy for me in the other end because I just wanted to rotate the strike and let Kumar to bat through the innings.

AFP

Thirimanne exults after reaching his ton against England. AFP

Q. At of the halfway stage, did you feel that 310 was below par score that you felt you could really chase that down without too much trouble?
LAHIRU THIRIMANNE: I think 310 is a very good score because in this wicket, I think it's a little bit slow. When spinners are operating and they're at both ends, it was a little difficult to rotate the strike, but they only got, I think one spinner, so we just rotated the strike.

Q. Was it helpful to you as a team chasing to have four similar paced and similar styled fast bowlers?
LAHIRU THIRIMANNE: Yeah, because in this wicket it was really flat. I think nothing for the fast bowlers, just no seam, no swing, so it helped a lot.

Q. Where does this innings rank for you personally?
LAHIRU THIRIMANNE: I think I rank this inning maybe second or third in my career because I played, I think, the Asia Cup final. Hundred is I think better than this. Early on I had a little bit of luck, to be honest, but I capitalize it because when they batted they also had some luck. So I just wanted to bat through the innings, and that is the only idea I had.

Q. Just in terms of Kumar, talking about where things rank, where does he rank in terms of batsmen in the history of the game and what sort of motivation is it with him bowing out for the team to go as far as you can in this tournament?
LAHIRU THIRIMANNE: At the current moment I think he's No. 1. I mean, he is batting really well. Not only is he rotating the strike, but hitting the boundaries as well. So it is very helpful for the team because he got the hundred in 60-odd balls, I think today. So been chasing a total it is really good that Kumar is in good form.

Q. Right away with the two spin bowlers under bowl today?
LAHIRU THIRIMANNE: I think when Rangana operating, I think Root and Morgan was there, so we just want to now bowl a seam on this wicket. Early on there was something on the wicket for the fast bowlers. But when always like 30, 35 there was nothing, so I think you could bowl a little bit more in the 20-40 gap. But I think bowlers did their part to be honest.

Q. What's it like playing with Dilshan and Sangakkara, more than 1,000 game experience in One Dayers and you're sort of the man in the middle of the top order. What is it like? Is there a lot of pressure having those guys around you?
LAHIRU THIRIMANNE: I think it's fantastic because Dilshan, and Mahela, Kumar are world class players. It is very helpful for the team because I think normally I batted number 5 or 6 in the past. So when I opened innings, I had the opportunity to bat with Dilshan and Kumar, so that was really fantastic for me because they teach how to rotate the strike and sometimes play to the situations and all is fantastic.

Q. You obviously had quite a tight game against Afghanistan. Which attack do you think it is better, Afghanistan or England?
LAHIRU THIRIMANNE: To be honest that day Afghanistan bowlers did really well, but there was a little bit for the team outside that wicket. So today it was easy for me, to be honest.

Q. When you scored your century, Kumar actually seemed a bit annoyed that you hadn't turned around and come back for a second. What did he say to you when you did manage to meet?
LAHIRU THIRIMANNE: Just he didn't know that the fielder was near. But the fielder was really close at that time, but he told me just nothing to worry about it, and that's it.

Q. Your confidence for the team must be high now. What were your thoughts on that game last night with New Zealand now unbeaten at the top and Australia? What are your overall thoughts of that?
LAHIRU THIRIMANNE: I think anything can happen in this tournament. We were one down when things started, but we came back really hard, but that's not the end. We had to play against Australia in the next match, so we want to give a hundred percent and win that match also, so that's it.

Q. I think there may be a growing sentiment that while Sri Lanka are a very strong batting side, perhaps in terms of the winning the World Cup, more bowling and batting is the strength of your side. Do you feel that's a fair assessment of the team?
LAHIRU THIRIMANNE: Yeah, I think our fielding wasn't good because we had some issues in the past too. But we had to come back really strong because in this tournament you can't -- like you can't do it only batting and survive. You have to field, you have to bowl really well. So we have to improve on that side.

Updated Date: March 01, 2015 15:48:01 IST

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