We can play better cricket, says Dilshan

Pallekele: After steering Sri Lanka to the quarterfinals of the World Cup with his all-round performance, opener Tillakaratne Dilshan said the team has the ability to play better cricket.

Dilshan scored a 131-ball 144 during his record 282-run stand for the opening wicket with Upul Tharanga (133) and then picked up four wickets giving away as many runs to cap off a memorable day, as Sri Lanka thrashed Zimbabwe by a massive 139 runs in a Group A match at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium here yesterday.

"Upul and I had a good opening stand today. We are playing good cricket as a unit at the moment, but the important thing is we can do better," said Dilshan.

The 34-year-old, who fell one run short of equalling Aravinda de Silva`s record for most runs by a Lankan in a World Cup game, was asked if he was aware of the record, the hard-hitting batsman said, "I didn`t know that.

"When I went to the dressing room I was informed that Aravinda`s record was 145 and that I had missed the milestone by just one run. That`s how it goes, I don`t look forward to records."

"In the tournament so far I hadn`t capitalised after getting a few decent starts. So I was determined to make it count this time around. It`s good to got a hundred," said Dilshan.

He could have recorded the third hat-trick of the World Cup had Mahela Jayawardene, fielding at first slip, latched onto Graeme Cremer`s edge but Dilshan said that he has no regrets.

"Mahela took a terrific catch to create the hat-trick ball. So you can`t really blame him. These things happen in cricket," he said.

There had been media reports suggesting that Dilshan had failed a drug test, but Sri Lanka Cricket was quick to squash the rumours saying the player wasn`t even tested in the first place.

Asked about that, Dilshan said he wasn`t worried about the speculations.

"Honestly, it didn`t bother me," he said.

Zimbabwe were going well at one stage with their openers taking the team to 116 by the 20th over, but Dilshan always knew it was going to be Sri Lanka`s day.

"Not really. We knew that when the ball gets old attacking would get difficult. They had a big total to chase and things were under control."

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara said that the partnership between Dilshan and Tharnaga took away the match from Zimbabwe.

"The opening stand just took it away. Dilshan has that magic touch with bat, ball and on the field. Murali is a champion, and that`s why he is rated the best in the world.

When the tough times come, he stands up," he said.

Losing captain Elton Chigumbura said, "We have to beat Kenya and do well against Pakistan. Disappointed with the show today. Good atmosphere in this stadium."