Jayasuriya too good for England

Sanath Jayasuriya showed today he still has what it takes to succeed in the one day arena. A powerful century and three crucial wickets earnt him the man of the match award, and gave Sri Lanka a 2-0 lead in the 5-match series.

After losing the toss and being sent into the field by Mahela Jayawardene, it was another lacklustre performance in the field by England. Coupled with some explosive batting from the tourists, it led to a total of 319.

It was a century from Jayasuriya which let Sri Lanka to this total. The veteran opener sensibly took time to get himself in, in very good batting conditions, and upped the tempo following the dismissal of opening partner Upul Tharanga. Sajid Mahmood came in for some punishment, after a two over opening spell which went for 26, his fifth over went for 17, including six over midwicket from Jayasuriya.

Jayawardene and Jayasuriya both cruised to 50, with boundaries flowing easily. They reached 150 for the partnership, before it ended the only way that seemed possible. A mix-up and a slip for Jayawardene left the captain high and dry.

The chase was an unlikely one from the start, with over a run a ball needed, and no Andrew Flintoff for England. Trescothick started brightly, but sliced Maharoof to backward point, and England’s most experienced one day batsmen was gone.

With the field in due to the PowerPlays, England didn’t take advantage. It was the fairly conservative pair of Strauss and Bell at the crease. Strauss soon sensed the run rate needed to rise, but his attempts led only to a catch for Muttiah Muralitharan at mid-off.

Sri Lanka continued strongly throughout the rest of the innings, Jayasuriya reached his 20th ODI century, and there was a rapid 50 for Kumar Sangakkara. Sri Lanka did crumble towards the end of the innings though, they lost 5 wickets for 34 runs, and didn’t add as many as they would have liked in the death overs, but still finished with a formidable 319-8.

England’s performance was better than on Sunday, but all the bowlers bar Harmison were poor, and 21 wides were conceded. With Strauss gone, Kevin Pietersen came to the crease, and England were able to up the run rate. Pietersen played his natural game, powerful cover drives and a big six off Perera. He was well supported by Bell, who even chipped in with a six of his own.

But Sri Lanka were able to break the partnership, before England got too comfortable, as Bell top-edged a pull of Malinga. Pietersen reached fifty from 48 balls, and with Collingwood he looked capable of making it England’s game. But Jayasuriya got the crucial breakthrough, Pietersen missed a sweep, and the ball crashed into the stumps.

Jamie Dalrymple and Paul Collingwood looked to be England’s last pair with a good chance of seeing them home. Collingwood played with typical intelligence, chipping the ball and running twos. It was the intelligence of Jayasuriya, which brought about his downfall with a quicker ball as Collingwood charged down the track. Geraint Jones hit a towering six off Muralitharan in his short innings, but was wrongly given out caught behind.

Dalrymple hit himself a couple of boundaries to give England a shred of hope, but he soon became the second victim of Jayasuriya’s quicker ball. With Dalrymple gone, England had no chance. The run rate rose to over 2 runs a ball. The last three wickets all fell to run out, as the tail ran for virtually anything in the desperate search for runs. England finished 46 runs short.

It was a slightly better performance by England, but Sri Lanka were still too good for them, and it would take a mammoth effort from England to win the series from here.

Sri Lanka 319-8
Sanath Jayasuriya 122, Mahela Jayawardene 66, Kumar Sangakkara 51
Steve Harmison 3-31, Sajid Mahmood 2-80

England 273
Kevin Pietersen 73, Paul Collingwood 56, Ian Bell 40
Sanath Jayasuriya 3-51, Lasith Malinga 2-45

Sri Lanka win by 46 runs and lead the 5 match series 2-0

Cricket Web Man of the Match: Sanath Jayasuriya

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