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Sangakkara inspires Sri Lanka
25 Feb 2006
By: Harry Warwick

Kumar Sangakkara scored a well-paced century to ease Sri Lanka past Bangladesh today at the Chittagong Divisional Stadium. Sangakkara played the anchor of the Sri-Lankan innings after an early stumble by the visitors, and crafted his knock with patience and control.

The Sri Lankans made a poor start when Mashrafe Mortaza got rid of Upul Tharanga without scoring, and then removed Jayasuria for just four with the Sri Lankan score on 17.

The fall of these wickets brought in Sangakkara and Jayawardene, and they immediately brought Sri Lanka back on track with some delightful shots. Sangakkara was constantly punching the ball back down the ground, and Jayawardene was blitzing the Bangladeshi attack too.

Jayawardene was reprieved on 16 when Khaled Mashud dropped one behind the stumps, but he settled in against the medium-pacers soon after, and began to counterattack with style. He eventually went when Mohammad Rafique got him caught and bowled, but he'd been allowed to blast 51 from 56, and re-gain Sri Lanka's momentum.

Lokuarachchi replaced Jayawardene with the score now stable at 92 for three, but wasn't content to sit back and watch through the middle overs. He ran well throughout his innings, and managed to disconcert the spinners, enabling him to reap the benefits. This display of fine aggression was rightly rewarded when he reached his first ODI off of just 43 balls.

Sangakkara was content with sprinting from one end to the other throughout his innings, and played as a great foil to Lokuarachchi and Jayawardene in their quick knocks. He also did a fine job with motivating the young Lokuarachchi, and guided him through his innings well.

Sangakkara was just as effective when the time came to hit-out, as he played with controlled aggression and punished the bad balls with merciless efficiency.

These vital innings allowed Sri Lanka to go on and make 310, a score that effectively made the Bangladeshi batsmen, in reply, give up. Dhammika Prasad, in his first over of One Day International cricket and the 10th of the innings, managed to get rid of Shahriar Nafees, and then followed that up with the wicket of Aftab Ahmed with Bangladesh on the same score.

Mohammad Ashraful was the only Bangladeshi batsman to really have a go at the Sri Lankan attack, and managed to strike 11 fours on his way to a well deserved 64.

Unfortunately, Ashraful's innings was of not much use to Bangladesh whilst they kept losing wickets at the other end, and a few 20s and 30s from his counterparts were never really going to win Bangladesh the match.

Sri Lanka 307/9
K Sangakkara 109, M Jayawardene 51, K Lokuarachchi 69
M Rafique 3/61, S Rasel 2/46

Sri Lanka won by 78 runs

Bangladesh 231/9
M Ashraful 64, H Bashar 30
T Dilshan 2/14, D Prasad 2/29

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