Sangakkara ton takes Lanka to 265/9 vs NZ

Mumbai: Skipper Kumar Sangakkara led from the front with a brilliant maiden World Cup century as Sri Lanka scored 265 for nine in their concluding group A league encounter of the World Cup being played at the Wankhede Stadium.

Sangakkara (111, 128 balls, 12×4, 2×6) added 145 runs for the third wicket with former captain Mahela Jayawardene (66, 90 balls, 6×4) to lay the foundation for a competitive score.

However the New Zealand bowlers and fielders fought back well at the death as they grabbed the last six wickets for only 55 runs.

Sangakkara, arrived at the crease when Lanka were 13 for one and then saw it become 19 for 2, got his 11th ODI hundred and his first in his 28th World Cup match.

The Sri Lankan captain also completed 9,000 runs in his 288th ODI and is the fourth from his country to achieve the landmark, and 14th overall. He needed 49 runs to reach the milestone before this tie and joined compatriots Sanath Jayasuriya, Aravinda de Silva and Jayawardene in the 9,000-club list.

Jayawardene departed after making a composed 66 off 90 balls, before a Tim Southee delivery straightened enough after pitching and caught him in-front during the first delivery of the batting Powerplay taken in the 37th over.

Sangakkara continued to dominate the bowling and helped Lanka add 45 runs in the five-over batting Powerplay, but his dismissal in the 42nd over trying to go for a slog-sweep, brought about a collapse in which the Emerald Islanders lost another 5 wickets for the addition of 55 runs.

Apart from Sangakkara and Jayawardene, only Angelo Mathews made a significant contribution with an unbeaten 41 off 35 balls with four boundaries.

The New Zealand bowling attack looked a bit thin, in the absence of their injured captain Daniel Vettori and pacer Kyle Mills. Pacer Tim Southee bowled an impressive first spell before finishing with three for 63 and Jacob Oram was accurate and economical in his first two spells but got a bit of stick in the end to finish with one for 57.

Off-spinner Nathan McCullum was economical and also grabbed two wickets.

Overall, their bowling lacked penetration and was milked with ease by the experienced pair of Sangakkara and Jayawardene. The leg injury to speedster Hamish Bennett, that forced him to leave the field after bowling 25 balls, only made matters worse for the Black Caps.

The Lankans started their innings on a wrong note by losing both the openers cheaply within the first five overs.

Left-handed Upul Tharanga backed up too far down the track when Tillakartne Dilshan hit a firm drive and the ball was deflected on to the stumps at the non-strikers` end.

From 13 for one, it became 19 for two when Dilshan went for an ill-attempted pull shot off Southee and got a leading edge to be caught at third-man by Oram.

With the Black Caps fielding brilliantly, skipper Sangakkara too could have been packed off but for a diving effort to regain his crease just in time before Martin Guptill hit the stumps with a direct throw.

Sangakkara and Jayawardene, the two senior-most batsmen in the Lankan line-up, then coolly and calmly restored the innings on a good batting track. They eschewed the risks and used common sense approach to gather the runs.

Jayawardene clipped the first ball from pacer Bennett off his toes to the square leg boundary to show his touch while Sangakkara played a glorious straight-drive off the same bowler to mark his presence.

Lanka were 60 for two at the end of the first two Powerplays while New Zealand`s stand-in captain Ross Taylor shuffled his bowlers around to try and break the third wicket stand.

Jayawardene had a close shave when on 26 in a total of 87 when off spinner Nathan McCullum dived to his right off his own bowling and seemed to have brought off a stunner.

But television replays, after the matter was referred to third umpire Amiesh Saheba, suggested he had not completed the catch and the batsman was declared not out.

The bowler tried to argue with the umpire and could face a reprimand from match referee Andy Pycroft. The Lankan 100 came up just before the 25th over ended and then the 33-year-old Sangakkara reached his second half century of the tournament off 77 balls and with the help of five fours.

Later the duo also raised the century stand in 153 balls, Sangakkara being the more aggressive of the two.

Jayawardene followed his captain to complete the second half century of the innings in 74 balls. It contained five fours and was the 33-year-old elegant right-hander`s 56th half century in his 338th ODI.

After 34 overs, the Kiwis were cruising along at 141 for 2 and after the 36th over with the score reading 162, Lanka opted for the batting Powerplay.

The first ball from Southee, brought back into the attack, had the well-set Jayawardene trapped leg before trying to flick the speedster.

After a review of the decision, on-field umpire Richard Kettleborough stuck to his original decision as TV replays showed that the ball was crashing into the leg stump.

But Sangakkara stepped on the accelerator and raced to his first Cup hundred after Jayawardene`s departure. He slashed Southee over point for his second six and then hit a four in the same area before glancing Oram for another four.

He turned the tall Oram for a single to reach the landmark, his 11th ODI hundred, in 119 balls and it was embellished with two sixes and 10 fours.

The 200 was raised in the 40th over, but just when the Lankans seemed poised for a rampage with their captain leading it, Sangakkara was dismissed by Nathan.