Sri Lanka set 333-run target for Canada

Hambantota (Sri Lanka): Mahela Jayawardene`s agressive century and an equally impressive knock from skipper Kumar Sangakkara propelled Sri Lanka to a formidable 332 for seven in their World Cup opening match against Canada here on Sunday.

Batting first after winning the toss, Jayawardene plundered 100 runs off just 81 deliveries, his second World Cup ton, while Sangakkara struck an 87-ball 92 after Tillakaratne Dilshan (50) kick-started Sri Lanka`s campaign in the tournament with a solid half-century at the Mahinda Rajapaksha International Cricket Stadium.

The experienced left-right duo of Jayawardene-Sangakkara scored runs briskly and added 179 runs in just 22 overs for a third-wicket stand that put the hosts — who surprisingly left out express bowler Lasith Malinga from the eleven — in the driving seat.

Jayawardne, who had 671 runs from 25 World Cup matches before today, got out after reaching his 12th ODI hundred, but Sangakkara was a little unlucky to have missed the landmark by just eight runs.

While Jayawardene hit nine boundaries and a six, Sangakkara found the fence seven times and cleared it once during their 179-run association, a commendable effort considering the sluggish pitch and the long boundaries.

A swept boundary off Rizwan Cheema signalled Jayawardene`s intentions, who looked all at ease during his stay at the crease.

The elegant right-hander then hit Jimmy Hansra for a four in the 26th over, before Sangakkara whipped one off the same bowler over wide mid-on for a boundary.

The Sri Lankan skipper reached his fifty in style, pulling Harvir Baidwan over the infield for a four.

Earlier Dilshan launched Sri Lanka`s innings in a style so typical of him.

The dashing Sri Lankan opener began with an awkward boundary off Henry Osinde and then thumped Khurram Chohan`s innocous half-volley through extra cover for a similar result.

Chohan was again at the wrong end of Dilshan`s onslaught when the opener, after a brief interruption due to sightscreen problems, smashed a length ball through the covers.

Even as Dilshan continued to dominate the relatively inexperienced Canadian attack, his opening partner Upul Tharanga (19) got into the groove with an off-drive off Chohan but fell after getting a start, thanks to a horrible mix-up between the two batsmen.

Thanks to Dilshan, Sri Lanka scored 54 runs without losing a wicket in the mandatory powerplay, the 50 coming in 9.3 overs. The next powerplay, though, proved to be fruitful for Canada who conceded just 19 runs while taking a wicket.

A short ball from Baidwan in the 14th over helped Dilshan join the ODI 5000-run club. The bowler lands one outside off stump and Dilshan was on it in a jiffy, cracking it through the off side.

Dilshan holed out to deep cover while trying to go for one too many. Cheema landed one short and outside off, and a gleeful Dilshan went for it but failed to clear deep fielder.

His departure, however, did not slow down Sri Lankan progress as Jayawardene and Sangakkara kept the scoreboard moving at a healthy pace.