Sangakkara wants his team to be ready for tougher battles

Updated: Mar 18, 2011, 23:31 PM IST

Mumbai: Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara chose to exercise caution despite his team`s thumping 112-run victory over New Zealand in their concluding Group A World Cup match today by saying tougher and more important battles lay in store from the knock-out stages.

"It`s always nice to win but you have to be realistic in matters like these. It`s good for our confidence but we have to know the real test lies from the quarter-finals," said the victorious team`s wicketkeeper-batsman who scored a match-winning, maiden Cup century and went past 9,000 runs in ODIs.

"It`s nice to score runs in these games, but the big test comes in the quarter finals, in do-or-die situations. Hopefully I can repeat such performance in those games," said the 33-year-old Sangakkara who made a superb 111 in 128 balls with 11 boundaries and two sixes.

He also felt happy to have scored a century in a winning cause.

"If you end up on the winning side after scoring a hundred, you feel special," he said.

Sangakkara also praised the efforts of his bowlers, in particular Muttiah Muralitharan who came on to bowl despite suffering a bruise in his knee when he fell down while taking a run.

"He has bowled beautifully even on one leg. He`s done that before in Australia with an injury and nearly won us a game. He did that here," said the Lankan captain about his star spinner`s haul of four for 25.

Asked about the key roles played by the three seniors in the team - himself, his predecessor Mahela Jayawardene (66) and Muralitharan, Sangakkara said, "That`s what our role is all about. We have to show our responsibility and do justice to the kind of seniority we have," he remarked.

Sangakkara put on 145 for the third wicket with Jayawardene after the team was tottering at 19 for 2 within the first five overs.

About the controversial `catch` taken by New Zealand`s Nathan McCullum off his own bowling that was disallowed by the third umpire when Jayawardene was 26, Sangakkara said his view was blocked and his partner wasn`t sure whether it was taken cleanly or not.