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Jayasuriya leads the way
01 Apr 2007
By: Paul Wood

As West Indies stare down the barrel of early elimination from the Super Eights stage, Sri Lanka's Sanath Jayasuriya had all guns blazing in Guyana, as he registered his 25th ODI century, inspiring his side to a 113-run victory over the hosts.

Jayasuriya was ably supported by his captain Mahela Jayawardene, and they shared in a 183-run partnership after they had started shakily, finding themselves at 35-2. The pair begun cautiously, with Jayasuriya then moving the swifter of the two through the gears.

He finally fell for 115 on an exceptionally humid day, and it was that rather than the West Indies attack that caused his downfall. He appeared to be a very tired man when he drove loosely at a full ball from Darren Powell.

West Indies had recalled paceman Jerome Taylor, and he opened up impressively alongside Powell. The latter sneaking one through Upul Tharanga's defence early on and making a mess of his stumps, uprooting two of them.

Kumar Sangakkara fell closely after, edging Ian Bradshaw behind when he was squared up to a ball that straightened on him.

Then came the partnership that effectively took the game away from the West Indies. Mahela Jayawardene did not begin in good touch, but it was a crucial knock for the man who averaged a paltry 18 in 17 World Cup matches prior to today. He brought his fifty up with the first four of his innings. His timing and confidence improved as his innings went on, testament to a man unwilling to tamely give his wicket away when things were not so smooth and determinedly battling on.

Jayasuriya meanwhile, was in typically belligerent mood following a sombre and watchful beginning. He paid the opening attack due respect before unleashing four sixes in his favourite maximum hitting area, between square leg and long on.

Tillakaratne Dilshan's multi-dimensional skills are integral to the balance of this Sri Lankan side. Aswell as handy contributions with the bat in the middle order, he bowls useful off spin and patrols the backward point area with great technique, speed and agility. Today he added extra impetus in the closing stages of the innings, smashing his way to 39 not out off 22 balls, to set the hosts a daunting target of 304.

For the West Indies to succeed in this chase, a solid start was essential and not losing 3 wickets with the score at 43, which was what did happen.

Chris Gayle skied one when he was on 10 off the quirky Lasith Malinga. The Jamaican unable so far in this tournament to replicate his outstanding Champions Trophy form.

Dwayne Bravo was promoted to opener, and he had reached 21 before being undone by the inswing of Chaminda Vaas, who then went on to take the prize wicket of Brian Lara, thanks to some smart work by Sangakkara, stumping him for 2.

Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shiv Chanderpaul, both Guyanese, then carefully constructed a 92-run partnership, but Sarwan also left his ground when attempting a wild sweep off Jayasuriya, needless to say Sangakkara again did the rest. The shot was born out of a rapidly growing run rate that had continued to climb throughout.

As wickets continued to fall the tail were left with a near impossible task, and as a result, subsided without too much trouble, despite Chanderpaul's best efforts.

He stood firm and even had the audacity to hit Muralitharan for four well executed sixes, however, he was fighting a lonely battle and eventually lost his off stump to Malinga for 76.

Sri Lanka were dominant in all aspects of the game, none more so than in the field. Where as the home team looked flat, lacklustre and generally sloppy, Sri Lanka were energetic, alert, and certainly not in the mood to give away any easy runs.

Ian Bradshaw was the man left not out, his name and number on the back of his shirt fading, as if to mirror West Indies hopes of reaching the semi-finals.

Sri Lanka 303-5
Jayasuriya 115, Jayawardene 82

West Indies 190 all out
Chanderpaul 76, Jayasuriya 3-38

Sri Lanka won by 113 runs

Cricket Web Man of the Match: S. Jayasuriya

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