Jayasuriya enjoying Indian summer
Veteran Sanath Jayasuriya insisted his age is no concern after cracking a match-winning 81 in his side’s ICC World Twenty20 Group C victory over West Indies at Trent Bridge.
The opener turns 40 this month but looked as sprightly as ever as he belted 10 fours and three sixes in his side’s 192 for five.
The Windies managed 177 for five in reply, with Jayasuriya also bowling three overs, including the first of the innings.
He faced just 47 deliveries as he played a succession of thrilling shots all around the ground, and later revealed he was enjoying the game as much as ever.
“I’m doing perfectly well and that’s the only thing for me. There is no worry about my age; you just go out and play,” he said.
“It suits me like that because my natural game is attacking cricket.
“I enjoy these Twenty20 games and it’s been really good to play in them. You need to be really fit and work very hard on your game, so at the end of my career I am very happy to have the opportunity.
“It’s really hard work though and it’s tough to keep up with these youngsters!”
Jayasuriya also believes his enjoyment of the game has been partly down to his inventive opening partner Tillakaratne Dilshan, who hit 74 off 47 balls at the top of the order, with a series of improvised paddles and sweeps.
“Dilshan has been playing really, really well,” he said. “It shows good confidence when you can play that way. With the way he is playing, I know I can just play my game.
“That’s a big advantage to us. When you see him playing some of those shots I can’t even believe it standing at the other end. It’s nice to see him doing that and I get confidence from it.
“I can’t play shots that are improvised that much, though; I don’t even think about it.
“When I got out I thought about playing some right-handed shots but I can’t do that, that is for Dilshan only. He never fears playing his own shots.”
West Indies wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin led his side out in the absence of Chris Gayle, who was resting a minor knee complaint.
Ramdin played down the seriousness of Gayle’s injury, insisting he would be fit for the remainder of the competition, but is ready to pick up the armband should anything else go wrong.
“Chris Gayle at the top of the order can destroy any attack, as we saw against Australia but he will be back for the next game so we can just take the positives from this game and move on,” he said.
“He’ll be able to play for the rest of the tournament but if given the opportunity again the guys will give me their full support.”
Ramdin paid tribute to Sri Lanka’s match-winners, denying his side had taken their foot off the gas despite the fact both teams went into the game already assured of a spot in the Super Eights.
He added: “We weren’t going out to play a dead game. We wanted to be competitive and to win but Dilshan and Jayasuriya came out and batted well in the first six overs. They played aggressively and went on with it.”