Thursday, December 28, 2006

Jayasuriya sizzles in Sri Lanka's win



Jayasuriya sizzles in Sri Lanka's win



Sanath Jayasuriya put on a brutal batting display, crashing 111 off 82 deliveries, to set up Sri Lanka's emphatic seven-wicket victory over New Zealand in the first match of a five-game series at Napier. New Zealand's testing target of 286, boosted by Ross Taylor's outstanding maiden century, posed little threat to Sri Lanka who cruised home with 10 overs to spare.
New Zealand would have harboured hopes of winning after reaching 285 for 8, but this was only a par score on a superb batting strip. Ultimately - although their bowlers had a day to forget - New Zealand paid the price for losing momentum after a 151-run second-wicket stand between Taylor, who was unbeaten on 128, and Nathan Astle.
In the 29th over, New Zealand were steaming along at 169 for 1 but Sri Lanka dragged themselves back into the contest. Their trio of spinners - Muttiah Muralitharan, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Jayasuriya, the most economical of the bowlers - applied the brakes before Chaminda Vaas and Lasith Malinga claimed late wickets.
Sri Lanka, as they did at Leeds when they chased down 322 with 12.3 overs to spare, also launched an assault in the Powerplays. Jayasuriya began by swivel-pulling Michael Mason to the fence in the second over. However, the fireworks really started after the first five overs when Jayasuriya, having played himself in, cut loose. At the other end, Upul Tharanga also played beautifully for his 68 off 73 balls but he was always in Jayasuriya's shadow. During one particularly savage over, Andre Adams was pummelled for three fours and a towering six over long on.
The pair amassed 110 runs during an amazing period between the fifth and 15th overs, taking advantage of a ragged display from an inexperienced bowling unit missing Shane Bond, Jacob Oram and Kyle Mills. Mason, 0 for 60 off six overs, and Adams, 0 for 45 off his first four, bled the most.
James Franklin did effect a double-strike in the 25th over when Jayasuriya was caught at third man and Tharanga nicked the next ball but by then, with 201 runs already on the board, the damage was beyond repair. Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara added a run-a-ball 70 and an out-of-sorts Marvan Atapattu made 10 not out to seal victory.
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