Jayawardene's ton seals series for Sri Lanka
by AFP

Ground:Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium, Dambulla
Scorecard:Sri Lanka v Pakistan
Player:DPMD Jayawardene, WU Tharanga, Younis Khan, Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal
Event:Pakistan in Sri Lanka 2009

DateLine: 3rd August 2009


Mahela Jayawardene hit his first one-day century in two years as Sri Lanka thumped Pakistan by six wickets on Monday to grab a winning 3-0 lead in the five-match series.


The former captain made 123 and shared an opening stand of 202 with Upul Tharanga (76) as the hosts cruised past Pakistan's challenging 288-8 in the 47th over of the high-scoring match.


Sri Lanka, who had won the preceding Test series 2-0, made light work of an improved batting display by Pakistan in which teenager Umar Akmal led the way with 66 off 65 balls.


The 19-year-old, whose elder brother Kamran Akmal is the team's wicket-keeper, propelled Pakistan to the highest total ever at the Rangiri International Stadium.


But Jayawardene, opening the batting in place of the indisposed Sanath Jayasuriya, and Tharanga gave Sri Lanka the perfect start in good batting conditions.


Jayawardene hit 14 boundaries and a six in his 11th one-day century and his first since making 107 for Asia against Africa in the Afro-Asia Cup in Chennai in June 2007.


Left-handed Tharanga helped himself to nine fours, before both batsmen fell in successive overs.


Sri Lanka lost a third wicket in the space of 10 runs as Thilan Samaraweera gave Saeed Ajmal a return catch, but Thilina Kandamby (32) and captain Kumar Sangakkara (37 not out) steered Sri Lanka home.


"It was an amazing innings by Mahela," said Sangakkara. "No one can ask for more when chasing a big enough total you get an opening partnership of 202 runs.


"It is great to win both the Test and one-day series. I am really satisfied how Sri Lanka have shaped up this season."


Pakistan captain Younus Khan conceded the Sri Lankan openers took the game away from his side.


"I thought we put up a good total, but we had no answer to the way Jayawardene and Tharanga batted. We could have fielded better.


"Now I wish we can win at least one match on this tour."


Pakistan lost despite putting up their best total in the series after Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to field.


Kamran Akmal made 45 during a 71-run stand for the second wicket with Younus (44) after opener Nasir Jamshed had fallen in the second over.


Pakistan suffered a middle-order slump when three wickets fell for 27 runs, before Shahid Afridi stepped in to smash 32 off 20 balls with five boundaries.


Off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, the world's leading wicket-taker in both Test and one-day cricket, removed Afridi and Umar in quick succession.


Pakistan plundered 86 runs in the last 10 overs to compile the highest total at the venue, surpassing Sri Lanka's 282 against India in 2004.


Abdul Razzaq and Rana Naved led the lower-order charge, making 30 runs apiece with a flurry of boundaries and sixes.


Razzaq hammered two sixes and a four, while Naved marked his return to official cricket after breaking links with the unauthorised Indian Cricket League with two sixes.


The action shifts to Colombo where the last two one-dayers will be played at the Premadasa stadium on Friday and Sunday.

(Article: Copyright © 2009 AFP)


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