Colombo, Feb 27 (PTI) It was a battle of nerves that SriLanka lost, said captain Kumar Sangakkara as he heaped praiseon rivals Pakistan for putting behind the spot-fixing scandaland proving themselves as a proud side in the ongoing WorldCup.
Sri Lanka went down by 11 runs in the nail-biting Group Aencounter last night and Sangakkara said Pakistan were thetougher of the two sides in the see-saw contest.
"They are a tough side. They proved that they have pridein themselves and I thought they played fantastic crickettoday," Sangakkara said.
Sri Lanka have never beaten Pakistan in the World Cup buthad a chance of ending that losing streak last night whilechasing 277.
Sangakkara said his team just didn''t make use of theopportunities that came its way.
"We tried to change that (the jinx) today. I am not toosure why that has happened over the years, but there were somecritical moments in this game and we couldn''t turn thosecritical moments in our favour," Sangakkara added.
Sangakkara became Shahid Afridi''s 300th victim in ODIcricket with the Pakistan skipper becoming the third playerfrom his country to reach the milestone after former captainsWasim Akram and Waqar Younis.
"Shoaib (Akthar) getting Mahela and Shahid (Afridi)getting (Tillakaratne) Dilshan were critical moments of thegame. Then Chamara (Silva) was a bit slow off the blocks, buthe gained momentum towards the end and his finish wasexcellent," Sangakkara pointed out.
Afridi, who picked up five wickets against Canada inPakistan''s opening game, was named Man-of-the-Match for hisfour for 34.
Sangakkara said the top order of the team did not makeenough contribution.
"We did pretty well to restrict them to 277 and the startwe got was good enough to keep on batting, but when you losefour wickets in the same amount of overs and you are less than100 for four wickets down, it makes it a bit difficult,"Sangakkara said.
"On this track 277 was very gettable and you saw howclose we came at the end. If we had done a little more hardwork with the top order batsman, I think we would have made itand crossed the line. The real negative for us from this gameis we lost a bunch of wickets in a very short space of time,"he added.