Jayasuriya finally nails elusive Cup century

sana.jpg (17920 bytes)BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya finally achieved one of the few major milestones to have eluded him when he scored his first World Cup century on Monday.

The explosive opener rectified this surprise omission with a sparking 120 to lead his side to a comprehensive 47-run win over New Zealand in their opening Group B match.

It was his 16th one-day hundred but his first at a World Cup after making no better than 82 at his three previous appearances in cricket’s biggest event.

"I was very pleased to do that today, not for me but for the team," he said.

One of the heroes of Sri Lanka’s triumphant 1996 World Cup campaign, Jayasuriya played another brave captain’s knock when his team needed him most.

He was unusually subdued in the first 10 overs as New Zealand’s bowlers extracted what little life there was from the Goodyear Park pitch before suddenly springing into life.

The 33-year-old brought up his half-century when he hit Andre Adams through point for three successive fours then reached his hundred off 111 deliveries when he guided a bouncer from Shane Bond to the third man boundary.

Jayasuriya was given the benefit of the doubt over a confident appeal for caught behind off seamer Daryl Tuffey on 18 and dropped twice by wicketkeeper Lou Vincent on 86 and 93 but survived to punish the Kiwis.

"I thought he had to work pretty hard at times during the innings but he played a very patient game today," Sri Lanka coach Dav Whatmore said.

"We’re all used to seeing Sanath hit it to all parts but it wasn’t until the ninth or 10th over that he played one of his trademark shots so from that point of view he is able to once again show he is able to get a hundred without whacking a 50 in the first 10 or 15 overs.

"When he does that, more times than not the teams wins...and I’m just glad he’s on my team."


Sri Lanka’s victory left them in a strong position to make the next stage of the competition with New Zealand, one of their main rivals for a place in the Super Six phase, planning to forfeit their match in Kenya because of security fears.

"This first match was a very important game for both sides, it’s almost a double-pointer," Whatmore said.

"Now it gives us a real chance to play a couple of more matches before we strike teams like the West Indies."

Whatmore said Jayasuriya and the rest of the Sri Lankan players had suddenly rediscovered their form after a disastrous tour of Australia which included the humiliation of being bowled out for 65 by Australia A.

The team had gone to South Africa then Australia to practice on harder, bouncier wickets and while their results had generally been poor, that match stirred them into taking action.

"We reached our depths of despair when we got bowled out for 65 that day," Whatmore said.

"But from then on the whole squad agreed that whether or not we go down we just give it our full commitment and 100 per cent."


Sri Lanka

Marvan Atapattu c Styris b Bond 6

S.Jayasuriya lbw b Astle 120

H.Tillakaratne not out 81

M.Jayawardene lbw b Adams 1 Silva c Styris b Astle 12

K.Sangakkara c Adams b Astle 13

R.Arnold b Bond 12

C.Vaas b Adams 5

M.Muralitharan not out 4

Extras (lb-6 nb-5 w-4 b-3) 18

Total (for seven wickets, 50 overs) 272

Fall of wickets: 1-23 2-193 3-196 4-213 5-240 6-256 7-263

Did not bat: D.Fernando, P.Gunaratne

Bowling: Tuffey 5-0-36-0, Bond 10-1-44-2, Oram 10-0-37-0, Adams 8-0-58-2, Harris 4-0-26-0, Styris 5-0-28-0, Astle 7-0-34-3

New Zealand

S.Fleming c Sangakkara b Gunaratne 1

N.Astle run out 0

C.McMillan c Sangakkara b Gunaratne 3

S.Styris c Vaas b Arnold 141

C.Cairns c and b De Silva 32

L.Vincent c Muralitharan b Jayasuriya 1

C.Harris b Muralitharan 13

J.Oram st Sangakkara b Muralitharan 12

A.Adams c sub b Arnold 1

D.Tuffeyc Sangakkara b Arnold 4

S.Bond not out 2

Extras (w-5 lb-10) 15

Total (all out, 45.3 overs) 225

Fall of wickets: 1-1 2-2 3-15 4-93 5-94 6-150 7-179 8-182 9-200

Bowling: Vaas 7-0-22-0, Gunaratne 5-0-24-2, Fernando

3-1-19-0, Muralitharan 9-1-42-2, Jayasuriya 8-0-32-1, de Silva 5-0-29-1, Arnold 8.3-0-47-3

Result: Sri Lanka won by 47 runs.