Sangakkara’s ton powers Lanka to 265

Sangakkara’s ton powers Lanka to 265

March 18, 2011   07:15 pm

Mumbai: Skipper Kumar Sangakkara scored a century to help Sri Lanka recover from the early loss of both openers and reach 265-9 against New Zealand in Friday’s World Cup Group A match.

Sangakkara (111) and Mahela Jayawardene (66) put on 145 for the third wicket after Tillakaratne Dilshan and Upal Tharanga departed to leave Sri Lanka on 19-2.

Sangakkara eventually played on to Nathan McCullum in the 42nd over after hitting 12 fours and two sixes for his first World Cup hundred.

New Zealand rued a contentious decision in the 24th over when Nathan McCullum appeared to take a wonderful diving catch to dismiss Jayawardene — only for third umpire Amiesh Saheba to decide that replays did not prove conclusively that the catch was taken cleanly.

And New Zealand’s injury toll mounted when Hamish Bennett limp off the field after turning his ankle while bowling in the 31st over. New Zealand is already missing captain Daniel Vettori and paceman Kyle Mills.

Bennett had only come into the team as a replacement for Mills, who injured his leg against Canada, while Vettori has been sidelined for two matches with a knee problem.

New Zealand made light of those problems early on against a Sri Lanka side playing away from home for the first time in the tournament, as Tim Southee and Jacob Oram caused havoc with the new ball.

Dilshan and Tharanga had put on an opening stand of 282 against Zimbabwe in their last match but could manage only 13 on Friday — and eight of those were extras.

Tharanga’s departure was down to a slice of luck for New Zealand in the third over. Tharanga (3) was caught out of his crease at the non-striker’s end when Southee got a hand to Dilshan’s straight drive and deflected the ball onto the stumps.

Sangakkara survived a runout attempt in the next over and in the fifth, Dilshan, making his 200th appearance for Sri Lanka, was caught at third man off a leading edge to give Southee the first of his three wickets.

But it has been the top four who have inspired Sri Lanka’s batting efforts at this tournament, and Sangakkara and Jayawardene duly came to rescue.

Sri Lanka had reached 87-2 in the 24th over when Jayawardene looked certain to go. Nathan McCullum took a stunning return catch off his own bowling, diving full length to his right to get his fingers to the ball just before it hit the ground.

The on-field umpires weren’t sure the ball hadn’t grounded and sent the decision to review, and McCullum was clearly furious when Saheba’s decision was relayed, despite one replay showing the bowler appearing to take the catch cleanly.

Stand-in captain Ross Taylor had to step in to prevent an aggrieved McCullum talking himself into trouble with the umpire at the end of the over.

Jayawardene and Sangakkara made the most of the letoff as both reached their half-centuries, with the captain joining a list of 13 other players to score 9,000th ODI runs.

Jayawardene fell to Southee before Sangakkara’s 11th one-day century — and first since 2008 — arrived in the 40th over, but his departure two overs later sparked a late flurry of wickets.

Angelo Mathews was not for 41 at the end as a succession of partners came and went, with six wickets falling for 40 runs.

Southee moved on to 14 wickets for the tournament with his 3-63, but he also proved expensive and conceded five wides. (CricketNext)

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