Samaraweera, Malinga clip Kiwi wings

Sri Lankans inflict 97-run defeat on visitors in the opening match of the tri-series


Sri Lanka’s Thilan Samaraweera celebrates after scoring his century against New Zealand. ReutersAfter Sunday’s practice game debacle against a Lankan ‘A’ side, the batting inadequacies of Kiwis were once again laid bare as Daniel Vettori’s men fell flat on their faces in the opening match of the tri-series here on Tuesday.

In pursuit of Sri Lanka’s modest target of 217, built mainly on the carefully constructed century by Thilan Samaraweera (104, 124b, 10x4), New Zealand batsmen failed to drive home the advantage crashing to a 97-run defeat.

Against the moving ball of Thilan Tushara and Nuwan Kulasekara, New Zealand top-order appeared brittle and in the bat of an eyelid, Jesse Ryder, Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor had disappeared back into their hut. After the pace duo, Lasith Malinga delivered the knock out punch in the 19th over, first ending Brendon McCullum’s defiance with a yorker and then dismissing Jacob Oram and Nathan McCullum off successive deliveries. He couldn’t achieve the hat-trick, but the game, for all practical purpose, was over.

Electing to bat, Sri Lanka got off to a poor start and the regular blows dealt by a disciplined Kiwi attack threatened to wipe out the home batsmen in a flash. However, Sri Lanka, through the maturity of Samaraweera and the industry of Angelo Mathews (51, 60b, 4x4) managed a respectable total, but as it turned out, the target proved way beyond the reach of New Zealand.

Not a member of the original 15-member squad, Kiwi paceman Daryl Tuffey put an end to Tillakaratne Dilshan’s misery bowling the right-hander with the last ball of the day’s first over while Shane Bond celebrated his comeback to one-day internationals scalping Mahela Jayawardene. Sanath Jayasuriya did precious little to justify his inclusion managing just seven runs during his 20-ball struggle, a typical slash off Bond over thirdman bringing his fall. Sangakkara did his best to revive the innings, but the left-hander never looked in control of things. Choked for runs, Sangakkara miscued an on-drive off Ian Butler and an obliging Oram completed a neat catch at forward square leg. After a brief resistance, Thilna Kandamby departed allowing Mathews to link up with Samaraweera in the middle.

A prolific Test scorer that he is Samaraweera isn’t unfamiliar to the art of building an innings and the situation demanded precisely the same. The right-hander and Mathews put on a handsome 127 runs for the sixth wicket in a matter of 134 balls to put the innings back on track. The two joined hands when Lanka were at a wobbly 69 for five and were separated when Mathews was cleaned up by Bond with the score reading 196.

Embracing caution over flamboyance, Samaraweera anchored the innings even as Mathews approached aggression ensuring that the scoreboard didn’t remain static. Even so, the laborious start -- the first 15 overs of power play yielding a mere 38 runs -- meant that Lankan run rate was woefully off the mark. Back in ODIs in July this year after a hiatus of over three years, Samarweera, whose previous best was an unbeaten 38, exploded in style after the 35th over raising 92 runs in just under 14 overs, the batting power play resulting in a fruitful 38 runs and powering Lanka to a total what in the end proved to be more than handy.    

Score board

SRI LANKA
Dilshan b Tuffey    4
(6b, 1x4)
Jayasuriya c Butler b Bond    7
(20b)
Jayawardene c Taylor b Bond    0
(2b)
Sangakkara c Oram b Butler    18
(47b, 1x4)
Samaraweera b Butler    104
(124b, 10x4)
Kandamby c Taylor b Vettori    15
(31b)
Mathews b Bond    51
(60b, 4x4)
Kulasekara (not out)    6
(5b, 1x4)
Tushara (not out)    6
(5b)
Extras (LB-3, W-2)    5
Total (for 7 wkts, 50 overs)    216
Fall of wickets: 1-4 (Dilshan), 2-5 (Jayawardene), 3-22 (Jayasuriya), 4-38 (Sangakkara), 5-69 (Kandamby), 6-196 (Mathews), 7-204 (Samaraweera).  
Bowling: Tuffey 9-0-35-1, Bond 10-2-43-3 (w-2), Butler 10-1-55-2, Oram 6-0-22-1, Vettori 8-0-31-1, N McCullum 7-1-27-0.
Scoring pattern: After 5 overs: 15/2, 10 overs: 26/3, 15: 38/3, 20: 51/4, 25: 68/4, 30: 90/5, 35: 112/5, 40: 144/5, 45: 180/5, End of Innings: 216/7 (in 50 overs). 
Runs during: Power Play1: 1-10 overs: 26/3; Power Play2: 11-15 overs: 12/0; Power Play3: 44-49 overs: 38/0.  
NEW ZEALAND
B McCullum b Malinga    14
(52b, 1x4)
Ryder lbw Tushara    0
(2b)
Guptill c Sangakkara b Kulasekara    3
(13b)
Taylor lbw Kulasekara    2
(4b)
Elliott lbw Jayasuriya    41
(76b, 2x4)
Oram c Sangakkara b Malinga    4
(3b, 1x4)
N McCullum b Malinga    0
(1b)
Vettori lbw Jayasuriya    10
(19b)
Butler b Malinga    25
(38b, 1x4, 1x6)
Tuffey st Sangakkara b Mendis    2
(7b)
Bond (not out)    1
(2b)
Extras (B-6, LB-1, W-10)    17
Total (all out, 36.1 overs)    119
Fall of wickets: 1-2 (Ryder), 2-5 (Guptill), 3-7 (Taylor), 4-37 (B McCullum), 5-41 (Oram), 6-41 (N McCullum), 7-76 (Vettori), 8-101 (Elliott), 9- 116 (Tuffey),   
Bowling: Kulasekara 6-1-18-2 , Tushara 6-1-5-1, Mendis 7-1-14-1 (w-1), Malinga 6.1-0-28-4 (w-6), Mathews 5-0-19-0 (w-3), Jayasuriya 6-0-28-2
Scoring pattern: after 5 overs: 7/3, 10: 17/3, 15: 24/3, 20: 46/6, 25: 70/6, 30: 91/7, 35: 116/8, End of Innings: 119 all out (36.1 overs)     
Runs during: Power play1: 1-10 overs: 17/3; power play2: 11-15 overs: 7/3; power play3: (not taken).          

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