Jul 2 2013, 10:24pm CDT | by Luigi Lugmayr
Kingston, July 3 (IANS/CMC) Commanding centuries from Upal Tharanga (174 not out) and Mahela Jayawardene (107) steered Sri Lanka to a mammoth 348 for one and a crushing 161-run victory over India in the third match of the Celkon Cup tri-nation series at Sabina Park here Tuesday.
Sri Lanka blunted the Indian attack and played untroubled as their openers posted 213 for the first wicket before the innings closed with a daunting 348 on the board for the lost of Jayawardene, CMC reports.
India, who successfully chased 330 against Pakistan a year ago, were expected to challenge the opposition, but the Sri Lankan bowlers proved too restrictive and the total too imposing for the reigning ODI champions. They were dismissed for 161 with five overs remaining.
After a watchful start, where the first 50 came off 12 overs, Jayawardene slammed his century off 107 balls and Tharanga brought up the 100 off 21.1 overs and kept the Indians toiling as they stretched their unbroken stand to 213 in the 39th over.
At this stage, Ashwin picked up the lone wicket for the Indians as Jayawardene, who also showed a return to form with his first ODI century in two years, was caught by Yadav playing a reverse-sweep.
However, there was no let-up as the left-handed Tharanga changed gears along with captain Angelo Matthews. Sri Lanka added another 135 for the second wicket off 11 overs. Tharanga seemed at his best and also recorded his highest ODI score in helping Sri Lanka to post a historic 348 for one.
The Indian bowlers seem bewildered by the situation as their persistent length balls went for regular boundaries. Tharanga also showed remarkable acceleration. While his first 72 runs came off 105 balls, he hammered an additional 102 off just 54 balls while striking 19 fours and three sixes.
When the Indians batted, they slipped into early trouble as opener Rohit Sharma was dismissed for five with the score on 12 off 4.2 overs, and never got into a position to threaten the Sri Lankans.
They reached 50 in 14 overs and were 64 for four, losing captain Virat Kohli for two, by the 19th over.
Suresh Raina (33) and Dinesh Karthik (22) staged a minor fightback putting on 53 for the fifth wicket. But once they were separated, with the score on 118 for five, the last five wickets managed just 69 runs. It was all over when Malinga fired a yorker into the stumps of Yadav in his eighth over.
West Indies lead the tri-nation series with nine points after victories over both Sri Lanka and India, and the Sri Lankans picked up four points for the win over India.
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