Colombo:Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara showered encomiums on his teammates after they scored a comprehensive 97-run win over New Zealand in the first ODI of the Compaq Cup tri-series on Tuesday.
Hosts Sri Lanka put up a brilliant all round show as they folded Kiwis innings for just 119 after putting up 216 on the board.
Thilan Samaraweera (104) and Anjello Mathews (51) starred with bat while Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Kulasekara did well with the ball.
"When you lose three wickets in the first six seven overs it is always difficult but it was magnificent recovery specially by Samaraweera, who clawed his way back to the one-day side.
"It shows how good he is and what a solid batsman can do when chips are down," he said after the match.
"And Mathews along with Samaraweera showed a huge amount of character and then fast bowlers and spinners did everything right," he added.
Sangakkara also praised his pace trio.
"Thilan Thushara, Nuwan Kulasekara and Lasith Malinga have now taken over the responsibility of putting in match winning performances day in and day out."
The hosts captain also acknowledged the 'strange' behaviour of the wicket at R Premadasa stadium.
"It was a strange wicket even by the usual standards here. It was very difficult to score runs even in the start.
"Usually it's quite good to bat on first and it deteriorates but today it was difficult to bat all through," Sangakkara said.
Kiwi captain Daniel Vettori conceded that his batsmen could not adjust to the wicket and that played a part in their defeat.
"We had a good start with the ball, we put them under pressure but Samaraweera and Mathews played exceptionally well. And Probably the real difference between the two sides was the ability to apply themselves on a very difficult wicket and unfortunately the Sri Lankan bowlers were too good for us today," Vettori said.