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Peerless Sangakkara breaks world batting record

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Sa’adi Thawfeeq reporting from Australia & New Zealand

 

HOBART: Peerless Kumar Sangakkara became the first batsman in one-day international cricket history to score four consecutive hundreds when he made 124 off 95 balls to help Sri Lanka coast home to an easy 148 runs win over associate member Scotland in their final World Cup Pool A match played at Bellerive Oval here on Wednesday.

Sangakkara’s 25th ODI century coupled with Tillakaratne Dilshan’s 22nd hundred saw Sri Lanka who opted to bat first hit an imposing 363-9 and then dismiss Scotland for 215 runs to finish the qualifying round stages with four wins two defeats and eight points. Sri Lanka are currently second in the Pool A table behind leaders New Zealand, but with third and fourth placed Australia and Bangladesh having a game in hand against Scotland and New Zealand respectively the positions could change. The final positions will determine the quarter-final line-up.

The eight teams through to the quarter-finals are New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Australia and Bangladesh from Pool A and, India, South Africa, Pakistan and Ireland from Pool B.

Despite Sri Lanka’s win big question marks remain with the bowling. Against an inexperienced side like Scotland that had failed to win a single match in the tournament Sri Lanka’s bowlers didn’t look like running through a side cheaply. Against top sides like New Zealand and Australia whom they met in their pool matches the bowling was pretty badly exposed and Sri Lanka lost both encounters.

Sri Lanka looked headed for a total in excess of 400 courtesy a fine 195-run second wicket stand between Dilshan and Sangakkara but following a quickfire 51 off 21 balls from skipper Angelo Mathews they suffered a mid-innings slump losing seven wickets for 92 runs and looked in danger of not batting out their full quota of overs. However last pair Nuwan Kulasekara (18 n.o.) and World Cup debutant Dushmantha Chameera (12 n.o.) sparred Sri Lanka of such embarrassment by indulging in an unbroken 27 runs off 19 balls that took them to the final total.

Mathews’ assault on the hapless Scottish bowlers where he hit four consecutive sixes in one over from Matt Machan saw him score the second fastest fifty in a World Cup off 20 balls after New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum’s 18-ball fifty against England in the current tournament.  

Sangakkara’s century was his fourth in a World Cup tournament an unprecedented feat. No batsmen had scored that many in one series, the previous highest being three apiece by Mark Waugh (1996), Sourav Ganguly (2003) and Mathew Hayden (2007). Sangakkara is in such imperious form that more batting records are due to be broken before the tournament is over.

Sri Lanka’s victory push was stalled by a 118-run fourth wicket stand between skipper Preston Mommson (60) and Freddie Coleman (70). It was during their liaison that Sri Lanka were forced to run through their overs pretty quickly by introducing spin as there was a threat of rain and a thin drizzle began to come down. They managed  to push through the minimum of 20 overs required for a result but the drizzle only proved to be a false alarm as it ceased after a few minutes and Sri Lanka were able to play the match to the full without any further interruptions.

Once the partnership was broken, Sri Lanka were able to run through the rest of the Scottish batting capturing the last seven wickets for 53 runs off 67 balls with fast bowlers Kulasekara, Chameera and Malinga picking up eight wickets between them.

Sri Lanka who has been beset by injuries had another scare when Mathews left the field during the Scotland innings and did not return.

Sri Lanka manager Michael de Zoysa said that Mathews had been troubled by a sore Achilles tendon in his right heel and left the field as a precautionary measure. With Sri Lanka’s quarter-final game being not until March 18 at Sydney there is enough time for him and left-arm spinner Rangana Herath who injured his bowling hand to recover. The stitches in Herath’s left index finger are expected to come off tomorrow.    

SCOREBOARD

SRI LANKA

L Thirimanne c Mommsen b Evans 4

T Dilshan c MacLeod b Davey 104

K Sangakkara c Cross b Davey 124

M Jayawardene c MacLeod b Davey 2

A Mathews c Coleman b Machan 51

K Perera c MacLeod b Taylor 24

T Perera c Cole b Berrington 7

S Prasanna c Coleman b Evans 3

N Kulasekara not out 18

L Malinga c Leask b Berrington 1

D Chameera not out 12

Extras (lb-3, w-10) 13

Total (nine wickets, 50 overs) 363

Fall of wickets: 1-21 (Thirimanne), 2-216 (Dilshan), 3-244 (Jayawardene), 4-244 (Sangakkara), 5-289 (K Perera), 6-326 (Mathews), 7-328 (T Perera), 8-331 (Prasanna), 9-336 (Malinga).  

Bowling: Taylor 10-0-46-1, Evans 10-0-72-2 (w2), Davey 8-0-63-2 (w6), Berrington 6.1-0-31-2, Leask 7-0-63-0, Coetzer 4.5-0-39-0, Machan 4-0-46-1 (w1).

SCOTLAND

K Coetzer c and b Malinga 0

C MacLeod b Kulasekara 11

M Machan lbw b Dilshan 19

P Mommsen c Thirimanne b T Perera 60

F Coleman c T Perera b Kulasekara 70

R Berrington c Kulasekara b Chameera 29

M Leask c Sangakkara b Kulasekara 2

M Cross c Sangakkara b Chameera 7

R Taylor c T Perera b Malinga 3

J Davey c Thirimanne b Chameera 4

A Evans not out 1

Extras (lb-2, w-6,nb-1) 9

Total (all out, 43.1 overs) 215

Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Coetzer), 2-26 (MacLeod), 3-44 (Machan), 4-162 (Mommsen), 5-189 (Coleman), 6-192 (Leask), 7-200 (Cross), 8-209 (Taylor), 10-213 (Davey).

Bowling: Malinga 9-0-29-2 (w2), Kulasekara 7-0-20-3 (w1), T Perera 7-0-41-1 (w2), Dilshan 5-0-15-1, Prasanna 8-0-57-0, Chameera 7.1-0-51-3 (w1, nb1) .

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