Jayawardene leads Sri Lanka to England series win
by AFP

Ground:Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street
Scorecard:England v Sri Lanka
Player:DPMD Jayawardene, KC Sangakkara, WU Tharanga, IR Bell, WPUJC Vaas, SL Malinga, JWM Dalrymple
Event:Sri Lanka in England 2006

DateLine: 24th June 2006


Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene's seventh one-day international hundred saw his side to an eight-wicket win over an outclassed England at the Riverside here Saturday, as the tourists went an unbeatable 3-0 up in the five-match NatWest Series.


Jayawardene made 126 not out as Sri Lanka, set 262 for victory, finished on 265 for two to inflict what was England's 13th defeat in 17 one-day internationals.


Together with wicket-keeper Kumar Sangakkara (58 not out), Jayawardene shared an unroken third-wicket stand of 140 in 155 balls as Sri Lanka won with nearly eight overs to spare.


England stand-in captain Andrew Strauss had said before the start of the series that if his team scored five individual hundreds they'd be successful.


But, unfortunately for him, Jayawardene's innings meant he'd witnessed a century in each match from a Sri Lanka batsman with England no nearer reversing their one-day form in the run-up to next year's World Cup in the Caribbean.


England, who'd bowled 43 wides in the previous two matches, only sent down five this time but more than compensated with a series of loose deliveries.


Sri Lanka got off to a flyer after Ian Bell's patient 77 had been the cornerstone of England's 261 for seven.


Sanath Jayasuriya, fresh from his 122 in Sri Lanka's 46-run second one-day international win at The Oval on Tuesday, cashed in against Stephen Harmison and Liam Plunkett, both playing on their Durham home ground, with some trademark boundaries down to third man.


Plunkett's first two overs went for 17 runs but England's plight was summed up by the fact that Sajid Mahmood, his replacement, had conceded 80 runs in seven overs at The Oval.


However, Mahmood struck first ball. Upul Tharanga played the ball into his pad and non-striker Jayasuriya called for him a single. Mahmood though reacted quickest of all to run-out Jayasuriya for 23.


With Sri Lanka 88 for one off 11 overs, medium-pacer Collingwood, the third Durham player on show, faced a rescue operation with the ball just as he'd done when coming to the crease with England 92 for three.


But even he was flamboyantly driven to the extra-cover boundary by left-hander Tharanga, who'd made a man-of-the-match winning century in his team's 20-run series-opening win at Lord's.


Meanwhile Jayawardene went to a 40-ball fifty with 10 fours.


Tharanga top-edged a sweep off Jamie Dalrymple to the off-spinner's Middlesex team-mate Strauss at short fine leg for 41 but Sri Lanka remained well-placed at 125 for two in the 17th over.


Debutant off-spinner Alex Loudon, earlier run out without facing, was next in the firing line. But Sri Lanka were now so far ahead of the required run-rate they didn't need to do anything extravagant.


An elegant off-driven four against Harmison took Jayawardene to a hundred in 104 balls with 16 boundaries.


Injury-hit England, whose opening stand of 62 was their best of the series, then endured another top order collapse as left-arm quick Chaminda Vaas removed openers Marcus Trescothick and Strauss.


Then dangerman Kevin Pietersen, hampered after edging the ball onto his knee, was caught behind off Lasith Malinga for six.


England were later denied a substitute fielder for Pietersen after the umpires ruled he had a pre-existing injury having sustained a blow to his knee at The Oval.


Bell, on the ground where he scored a Test-best 162 not out against Bangladesh last year, was run out in the penultimate over having faced 114 balls with three fours.


Such was Sri Lanka's control that star off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, who'd left the tour to be with his ill son, was barely missed.


The series continued at Old Trafford on Wednesday and concludes at Headingley a week on Saturday.

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)


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