Sydney: Glenn Maxwell praised Shane Watson for helping him break through for his first one-day century which drove Australia`s World Cup win over Sri Lanka and a place in the quarter-finals.
Maxwell smashed the second-fastest World Cup century to set up Australia`s imposing 376 for nine and go on and beat the Sri Lankans by 64 runs at the Sydney Cricket Ground to snatch second spot in Pool A behind New Zealand.
Maxwell said he had been experiencing a tough couple of weeks off the field without specifying the problems, but paid tribute to senior batsman Watson, recalled after being dropped the previous match against Afghanistan.
"It was a massive weight (off my shoulders) and obviously having `Watto` there," said Maxwell after his 51-ball century.
"He`s been there for me over the last couple of tough weeks off the field, he`s been there with me through thick and thin.
"I shared a little special moment with him out there, hopefully it`s going to open the floodgates a little bit and I can stop getting out in the 90s.
"He played beautifully and having chats to him off the field has been really good for me. It was a really special partnership we had together, I think we put on 160 and it was a lot of fun."
Maxwell, dubbed `The Big Show, put on a pulsating knock replete with his audacious reverse sweeps, flicks and powerful hitting in an innings he has threatened to unleash in his previous ODIs.
"It was nice having a good wicket to play on and the top order set it up absolutely beautifully for us," he said.
Spinner Sachithra Senanayake, who played for the first time for Sri Lanka in the tournament, said it was difficult to contain Maxwell.
"Actually, I feel so bad. The way Maxwell is hitting, the players like Maxwell, AB de Villiers, they are taking so many runs," said Senanayake, who went wicketless for 59 off nine overs.
"If they are playing 50 balls they are easily getting 100 runs. It`s a very bad point for us, so we had to do something new for them. It`s hard."
Australia skipper Michael Clarke said Australia were put under pressure by Sri Lanka`s stout-hearted batting response, led by Kumar Sangakkara, who scored his third consecutive century at the tournament with 104 and also went through the 14,000-run barrier in ODIs.
"I thought they played really well, the whole Sri Lankan innings. We were under pressure, no doubt about it," Clarke said.
"We had to continue to take wickets. It shows how far the game has come now that you can even think about chasing 375 runs."
On his own run-a-ball innings of 68, Clarke said: "I would have liked a few more runs, but yeah it was nice to spend some time in the middle.
"I thought I had been batting pretty well at training and it was nice to contribute when the team needed me.
"I don`t feel stressed from what people write or say, I think it might have taken me a few years but I`ve learned to ignore a lot of it and laugh at a lot of it.
"That`s probably the only reason I`m still playing this great game of cricket at the highest level. When I was younger I probably took a lot of it to heart.