It was a battle of nerves that Sri Lanka lost, said captain Kumar Sangakkara as he heaped praise on rivals Pakistan for putting behind the spot-fixing scandal and proving themselves as a proud side in the ongoing World Cup.
Sri Lanka went down by 11 runs in the nail-biting Group A encounter last night and Sangakkara said that Pakistan were the tougher of the two sides in the see-saw contest.
"They are a tough side. They proved that they have pride in themselves and I thought they played fantastic cricket today," Sangakkara said.
Sri Lanka have never beaten Pakistan in the World Cup but had a chance of ending that losing streak last night while chasing 277.
Sangakkara said that his team just didn't make use of the opportunities that came its way.
"We tried to change that (the jinx) today. I am not too sure why that has happened over the years, but there were some critical moments in this game and we couldn't turn those critical moments in our favour," Sangakkara added.
Sangakkara became Shahid Afridi's 300th victim in ODI cricket with the Pakistan skipper becoming the third player from his country to reach the milestone after former captains Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis.
"Shoaib (Akthar) getting Mahela and Shahid (Afridi) getting (Tillakaratne) Dilshan were critical moments of the game. Then Chamara (Silva) was a bit slow off the blocks, but he gained momentum towards the end and his finish was excellent," Sangakkara pointed out.
Afridi, who picked up five wickets against Canada in Pakistan's opening game, was named Man-of-the-Match for his four for 34.
Sangakkara said that the top order of the team did not make enough contribution.
"We did pretty well to restrict them to 277 and the start we got was good enough to keep on batting, but when you lose four wickets in the same amount of overs and you are less than 100 for four wickets down, it makes it a bit difficult," Sangakkara said.
"On this track 277 was very gettable and you saw how close we came at the end. If we had done a little more hard work with the top order batsman, I think we would have made it and crossed the line. The real negative for us from this game is we lost a bunch of wickets in a very short space of time," he added.