Jayasuriya ton rescues Sri Lankan innings

July 6th, 2008 - 9:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, July 6 (IANS) Sanath Jayasuriya brought back memories of his heyday with a ferocious counter-attacking century to help Sri Lanka score 273 in their Asia cup final against India here Sunday. Jayasuriya hammered a quickfire 125 off 114 balls even as Sri Lanka were losing early wickets and were placed at a precarious 66 for four after 12 overs.

Jayasuriya, 39, was in a brutal mode as he raced to his 27th one-day ton in just 79 balls with nine fours and five sixes to lift the defending champions from a seemingly tough situation.

His rescue act came at a time when pacer Ishant Sharma had brought the Lankans to their knees with three quick wickets in succession.

But Ishant’s effort was later completely overshadowed by Jayasuriya, one of the oldest cricketers playing international cricket at the moment. The high point of his innings came in the 16th over when he plundered RP Singh for 26 runs, including three huge sixes.

Jayasuriya played the lead role in a vital fifth partnership of 131 off 141 balls with Tillakaratne Dilshan (56). It was after his fall in the 36th over that Sri Lankan hopes of posting a match-winning total faded.

Jayasuriya fell to Virender Sehwag while trying a slog sweep but failed to get past Ishant Sharma at mid-wicket.

Dilshan joined him 16 runs later, trying to go for a big one off Irfan Pathan only to scoop the ball into the safe hands of Mahendra Singh Dhoni behind the wicket. Dilshan’s 56 came in 74 balls and included three hits to the fence.

Nuwan Kulasekera (29 not out) and Chaminda Vaas (19) then ensured that their side remains alive in the final, guiding them to 273 in 49.5 overs.

Earlier, Dhoni won the toss and opted for a run-chase on a batting wicket. India got an early breakthrough when they sent back the dangerous Kumar Sangakkara in the second over with Suresh Raina running him out.

Skipper Mahela Jayawardene (11), Chamara Kapugedera (5) and Chamara Silva (0) fell to some incisive bowling by Ishant but Jayasuriya didn’t allow the batting to collapse completely. Ishant (3-52) returned with best figures of the innings.

On a wicket where scores of over 300 have been chased comfortably, 273 seems like an easy target. But with a potent Sri Lankan attack that has Chaminada Vaas, Muthiah Mualitharan and Ajantha Mendis, India will have to work hard to reach it.

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