Adelaide: Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene rued the lack of partnerships upfront as they lost to Australia by 16 runs in the last and decisive final of the cricket tri-series on Thursday.
"Initially if we were given 231 we would have taken it. They put a lot of pressure on us, we fought well but the lack of partnerships upfront did us. We could not execute a good game plan," Jayawardene said after the match.
He, though, hailed his unit for putting up a great show Down Under and said it was a learning experience for some of the younger boys in the squad, as the team looked to rebuild for the next World Cup.
"Very proud of the boys against two quality teams (Australia and India). The objective is to rebuild for the next four years and we`ve learnt a lot and I`m proud of the youngsters," he said.
Opting to field Sri Lanka were able to restrict Australia to a moderate total of 231, after David Warner and Matthew Wade put on 79 runs for the first wicket.
But lack of application by the Sri Lankan batsmen in the initial overs saw them lose four important wickets in the first powerplay, which played a crucial role in their debacle.
Australian captain Michael Clarke, who was forced out of this match because of hamstring injury, lavished praise on his bowlers, whom he otherwise thought were a bit erratic with their line and length in the previous matches.
"Much better team without me I reckon. The boys were very good with the ball. I was a bit harsh on them in the previous matches but they did really well today. All the boys have a few more grey hairs," he said.
Clarke, meanwhile, remained confident of his participation in the upcoming tour of the West Indies, where Australia are scheduled to play five ODIs and two Twenty20 Internationals, apart from three Test matches.
"Hopefully I will get to Windies at the back-end of the one-dayers. Watson's done another good job. I think we continue to see the strength of our domestic set up, getting guys ready for Australia," he said.
Clint Mckay, who was adjudged man-of-the-match for his five-for said he had to remain focused while bowling the last over of the Sri Lankan run chase as the thought of Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni hitting him for a six over his head to clinch a win earlier in the tournament at the same venue remained in his mind.
He added that his contribution with the bat was important as Australia were in a precarious stage at that point of time.
"The batting was important to the situation in this game. It's great to be back in this squad. I had to keep the six by Dhoni (at Adelaide) out of my head," Mckay said.
The 29-year-old Victorian chipped in with a valuable 28 runs with the bat before claiming five wickets in the Sri Lankan innings to see his home through.
The man-of-the-series Sri Lankan opener Tillakratne Dilshan, who scored 513 runs at an healthy average of 51.30 in the tournament, said the team played some really good cricket but were not good enough with the bat in the final.
"We played very well throughout but today we didn't finish well. We've played great cricket after SA. I took the wrong option against Lee, but they bowled and fielded well," he said.