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We're ready to take on 'strong' India: Angelo Mathews

Press Trust of India
Jun 19, 2013 at 08:12pm IST

Cardiff: Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews on Wednesday said his team is physically and mentally ready for the challenge that will be posed by a formidable Indian side in the semi-final of the ICC Champions Trophy.

"India are a strong team to beat, but we are prepared physically and mentally," the young Lankan skipper told reporters here on Wednesday.

For the talented allrounder, it will be a big achievement if Sri Lanka are able to get past India on Thursday. "We are aware of our poor record. It will be an achievement if Sri Lanka can beat India here tomorrow and on our day, we can beat any team in the world," Mathews said.

We're ready to take on 'strong' India: Mathews

The Sri Lankan captain said it will be a big achievement if Sri Lanka are able to get past India on Thursday.

Like his counterpart Dhoni, the Lankan captain also doesn't believe in exacting revenge. "In sport, there is no word called revenge," he said.

Thursday's semi-final at the Sophia Gardens is threatened by rain and in case of a wash-out, India will go through to the final in Birmingham on June 23, having topped the group in the league stage.

Mathews said he was not even thinking about such a possibility as it is "out of our control".

Sri Lanka have a poor record to defend against India. After the 2011 World Cup final at the Wankhede Stadium, which India won comfortably by six wickets, the Lankans have lost seven out of 10 matches against Dhoni's team. One match at the Adelaide Oval in February 2012, ended in a tie.

Mathews did admit that although lot depends on the veteran players Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan, juniors will also need to put their hands up in trying circumstances.

"They are the backbone of our batting but we have seven batsmen and young guys like [Dinesh] Chandimal and [Lahiru] Thirimanne are in good form," Mathews said.

"We can't depend on certain players. We have to work as a team and whoever gets set has to bat till the last. It's going to be a mix of Test and ODI batting as we have to keep things flexible," Mathews said.

Having beaten hosts England and defending champions Australia, Sri Lanka are high on motivation and aims to reproduce the killer instinct the team displayed in the group games.

"We are a fighting team. All our three matches went down to the wire. We lost a close game against New Zealand, but the wins against England and Australia give us plenty of confidence. Our bowlers now have the experience to deal with the strong Indian batting," said Mathews.

The Lankan skipper said India can ignore Lasith Malinga at their own peril. "Yes, I am aware we play a lot of cricket together but to ignore Lasith is not a good idea. He remains a very experienced man and he will surely have special plans against them," Mathews said.

It's expected to be a sell-out crowd here on Thursday. The 16,000 seats will be full at the Sophia Gardens. Rain has spoilt the 2002 final between the two teams on consecutive days in Colombo forcing India and Sri Lanka to share the Champions Trophy for the only time in the history of the mini World Cup.

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