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Sri Lanka coach says focus only on Scotland

Sri Lanka coach Marvan Atapattu has promised full intensity for Wednesday`s World Cup match against Scotland even though his team have already qualified for the quarter-finals and their rivals are out of the race.

The Islanders, who have won three of their five matches, will likely take third place in Pool A behind co-hosts New Zealand and Australia if they win their last game at the Bellerive Oval.

But Atapattu insisted it was important to beat Scotland, who have lost all their four matches so far, before turning the attention towards the quarter-finals.

"The idea is to play our best cricket," said Atapattu. "That is how we want to play every match and it will be no different against Scotland. When you get on the pitch, you start a new game from scratch."

Atapattu admitted the spate of injuries that has hit the squad during the tournament was not ideal preparation for the big games to come.

Sri Lanka, who had already lost all-rounder Jeevan Mendis and batsman Dimuth Karunaratne, suffered another blow on Tuesday when Dinesh Chandimal was ruled out with a hamstring injury.

Chandimal retired hurt after making a 24-ball 52 against Australia on Sunday and has been replaced by left-hand batsman Kusal Perera, who has played 41 one-day internationals and scored 839 runs with one century.

Moreover, both left-arm spinner Rangana Herath and opener Lahiru Thirimanne are nursing finger injuries.

Atapattu said Thirimanne will not take the field on Wednesday to give him time to recover before the quarter-final against an yet undecided opponent in Sydney on March 18.

"No team likes to be burdened with injuries, so obviously it is not a good situation to be in," the coach said. "But hopefully the others who are there will deliver.

"Every fit player is in the mix to play but we have not taken a call on whom to leave out."

Atapattu said he was not concerned by the inability of his bowlers to contain the flow of runs in the final overs which has set up big totals for the rivals.

New Zealand took 134 runs from the last 14 overs, England garnered 148 from 15 and Australia smashed 200 in the last 16 overs.

"I think it is not only us, but other sides too have faced the same problem," he said. "Even the Australians, who I think have one of the best attacks have suffered.

"If you have wickets in hand in the power-play, its amazing how much a team can score with the field restrictions. From the 36th over, it is almost like a Twenty20 slog.

"But having said that, it`s about working to a plan and executing your skills. It does not guarantee that you won`t go for six runs an over, but that is your best chance.

"We will obviously need to keep this in mind in the matches to come." 

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