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Cricket | ICC World Cup

Mahela Jayawardene © Gallo Images

Sri Lanka trounce Canada



Sri Lanka showed exactly why they are expected to push strongly for the 2011 World Cup, as they trounced Canada by 210 runs in their opening game in Hambantota on Sunday.

Sri Lanka had won the toss and chose to bat, and their three best players all found early form in the tournament.

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Openers Upul Tharanga and Tillekeratne Dilshan added 63 for the first wicket, before Tharanga was run out.

Dilshan reached a slightly becalmed 50, as Canada’s attack used their lack of pace to throttle the Sri Lankan stroke-players. Having reached a 21st ODI fifty, Dilshan then chipped Rizwan Cheema to John Davison at deep cover.

That brought Kumar Sangakkara and Jayawardene together, and they changed the course of proceedings. Jayawardene was especially brutal, slamming the first six off the match when he carved Harvir Baidwan over cow-corner.

They had their 100 stand by the 35th over, as they picked up the scoring tempo against an attack that had little in the way of pace or serious spin.

The race was on to see who would reach 100 first, but Sangakkara surprisingly fell, caught and bowled, to the innocuous Davison in the 42nd over.

Man-of-the-match Jayawardene then reached the fastest century by a Sri Lankan in a World Cup, as he pushed his 80th delivery for a single.

Sri Lanka limped home somewhat, but some late hitting by Mathews allowed them to reach a massive 322 for 7.

"The real star was Mahela Jayawardene," said Sri Lanka skipper Sangakkara.

"Once we got the foundation and that solidity we were able to launch and go beyond 300."

EMBATTLED CANADA

Canada made the worst possible start, as they lost the big-hitting Davison before a run was on the board. Davison, who once held the record for the fastest century in World Cup cricket (67 balls v West Indies, 2003), was castled by a superb delivery from Thishara Perera.

Perera could have had a wicket with his very next ball, but Samaraweera grassed a sitter at slip. It didn’t matter much, of course, and Nuwan Kulasekara had Gunasekera caught at cover to reduce the Canadians to eight for two.

That became 12 for three, as Perera trapped Surkari in front. Jimmy Hansra and skipper Ashish Bagai (22) then battled on without scoring many runs, but the writing was on the wall by then.

Sri Lanka motored through the first 20 overs to ensure they ensured a result -- with bad weather threatening -- and once they had done that, their pacemen came back to finish matters off.

Kulasekera and Perera both took three wickets, and the only real resistance from Canada was that of Cheema (37 off 35 balls).

Muttiah Muralitharan bowled with little luck, but both he and Ajintha Mendis grabbed a wicket each before the Canadians were finally rolled over for 122. Canada captain Asish Bagai admitted chasing such a huge target was always going to be a tough proposition.

"Two world-class players took the game away from us and 330 was always going to be a tough ask," he said.

The massive, 210-run win confirms Sri Lanka’s standing as one of the leading contenders for the title.

Teams:

Sri Lanka: WU Tharanga, TM Dilshan, KC Sangakkara (capt & wk), DPMD Jayawardene, TT Samaraweera, CK Kapugedera, AD Mathews, NLTC Perera, KMDN Kulasekara, M Muralitharan, BAW Mendis

Canada: JM Davison, R Gunasekera, A Bagai (capt & wk), TG Gordon, AS Hansra, ZE Surkari, Rizwan Cheema, WD Balaji Rao, HS Baidwan, Khurram Chohan, H Osinde

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