Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Jayasuriya hits Birthday century demoralizing Bangla !!!

As birthday bashes go, this one was pretty special, with Sanath Jayasuriya bludgeoning Bangladesh into near-submission as Sri Lanka took a giant stride towards the Asia Cup final. Some of the Bangladesh players were still in diapers when Jayasuriya made his debut, and they must have felt as helpless as babies at times when he cut and pulled on his 39th birthday with the fluency and power that typified his halcyon years. He raced to a century off only 55 balls, as Sri Lanka thumped 175 from the first 25 overs. With Jayasuriya in such destructive mood, it almost escaped attention that Kumar Sangakkara had eased to yet another classy 50.

When Jayasuriya lashed Mashrafe Mortaza's opening delivery past point for four, it appeared to be a sign of things to come, but with Shahadat Hossain bowling a maiden first up, Bangladesh conceded only 20 in the first five overs. The trouble started after that, with Jayasuriya dusting off his pull stroke and also driving over the infield with immense power.

Sangakkara wasn't to be left behind, piercing the packed offside field cleverly on occasion, but after a while he gave up trying to keep pace. Jayasuriya was unstoppable. When the bowlers dropped short, he would pull over midwicket. If they were too full, the disdainful flick was unveiled. Too much width and the hoardings behind the point boundary were battered with short-arm cuts. And if all that wasn't punishment enough, he would also saunter down the track before lashing the ball over the covers.

The half-century took only 31 balls, and when Abdur Razzak came on, he was taken for 19 runs in his second over. Two crisp fours off Farhad Reza and a single to long leg later, he had a century, the 26th of an illustrious career. Sangakkara, who had caressed some lovely drives himself, was the perfect foil, and Bangladesh's cause wasn't helped when Mushfiqur Rahim fluffed a catch behind the stumps off Razzak right after Jayasuriya had got his hundred. It could only get worse.

Sanath Jayasuriya is the second oldest player to score a one-day hundred after Geoffrey Boycott, who scored 105 against Australia in sydney when he was 39 years and 51 days old.

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