Wellington, Mar 1: Veteran Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara praised his team's openers for their 100-run stand which led to the target being easily chased down against England in a ICC World Cup Pool A encounter here at the Westpac Stadium on Sunday.
Chasing a total of 310 for victory, the 1996 World Cup champions were totally in command over their run chase. Their first wicket fell for 100, that of Tillakaratne Dilshan (44). ('Sangakkara is number 1 batsman')
The wicket gave England a glimmer of hope. But Man-of-the-Match Sangakkara (117) and other opener Lahiru Thirimanne (139) put on an unbeaten partnership of 212 runs to clinch the match with nine wickets to spare.
"Credit should go to the openers. They had a great start. Thiri (Thirimanne) batted out of his skin. We were getting six runs an over throughout. It was just a case of batting long," Sangakkara said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Earlier, England had posted a formidable total of 309/6, courtesy a ton from middle-order bat Joe Root (121).
Sangakkara praised his innings and added he is still enjoying the game.
"It is always imposing when someone scores 300. Joe Root batted beautifully, but then again there are days like this," the 37-year-old said.
"Getting old quite quickly but I am still enjoying the game (about retiring after the event)," he added.
Sri Lanka next play Australia on March 8 in Sydney.