Champions Trophy: England captain Alastair Cook paid tribute to Kumar Sangakkara

Last Updated: 14/06/13 7:13am

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England captain Alastair Cook paid tribute to Kumar Sangakkara after his century earned Sri Lanka a seven-wicket victory at the Oval.

The home side looked well on course for victory after posting a score of 293-7 but Sangakkara struck an unbeaten 134 from 135 balls to lead his side home.

"It's not as if we can sit here and say we had our opportunities, that was just a very fine hundred."
Alastair Cook

Nuwan Kulasekara chipped in with 58 not out from just 57 deliveries, a knock that included five fours and three sixes, as Sri Lanka secured the win with 17 balls to spare.

"I think the difference was an outstanding hundred from an outstanding cricketer, that was the difference today," said Cook.

Fine innings

"Sometimes you come up short against a guy who plays as well as that and you don't feel quite so bad.

"We tried a few different things but in that 130 (sic) he didn't give a chance. It's not as if we can sit here and say we had our opportunities, that was just a very fine hundred.

"(Almost) 300 wins you a lot of games of cricket. It didn't today because of a very fine innings from Sangakkara."

Victory would have ensured England's place in the semi-finals of the competition but they will have another opportunity to advance when they face New Zealand in Cardiff on Sunday.

"Clearly we had an opportunity to get into the semi-final today and didn't take it but we've got another one in our next game," added Cook.

"This is why the Champions Trophy is such a good tournament, every game means something and you're against quality opposition all the time.

"This opportunity slipped us by and we've got to win on Sunday. It's still in our hands."

Bold

Meanwhile, Sangakkara praised the boldness of the decision to promote Kulasekara up the batting order ahead of skipper Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal.

"If that didn't work, the team would have been torn to shreds," said Sangakkara.

"Angelo would have taken some criticism saying, 'what was he doing or what were the coaches thinking'.

"Decisions like that can go both ways but I thought it was really strong of Angelo and the coaches to take that decision.

"It was great to see how it worked. Kulasekara batted very sensibly and that's why it worked.

"It would have been easy for him to come in and try to hit every ball but he batted sensibly through the powerplay and accelerated after."

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