Sangakkara century lifts Sri Lanka

The class of Kumar Sangakkara once again revived Sri Lanka after a dismal start with the bat in their crucial tri-series clash with India in Adelaide on Tuesday.

The Sri Lankan cause wasn’t helped by three runs outs, two dreadfully unlucky, but Sangakkara’s polished 128 helped them recover from a disastrous six for two to make 238 for six from their 50 overs in a match they needed to win stay in the hunt for the tri-series finals.

Sangakkara struck the ball too well at times, twice freakishly running out unlucky teammates when his straight drives deflected off the bowler’s hand onto the stumps at the non-striker’s end.

Veteran opener Sanath Jayasuriya was the first batsman to fall in that fashion, run out from the bowling of Munaf Patel in the second over after a powerful Sangakkara drive.

Then Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene, who had resurrected the Sri Lankan innings by making 71 in a 153-run partnership with Sangakkara, fell the same way with Praveen Kumar the lucky bowler.

It seemed a run out was the only way the Indians would get a wicket for most of the innings, with Chamara Kapugedera also caught out of his ground by a direct hit from Rohit Sharma at point.

Sangakkara has been the only Sri Lankan batsman to perform consistently during the tri-series and looked in control from the time he arrived at the crease, although later in his innings he appeared tired in the stifling heat.

The gifted wicketkeeper-batsman initially adopted a cautious approach, with Sri Lanka only having 60 runs on the board after 20 overs, and then became more expressive as he and Jayawardene built their partnership.

Sangakkara had a piece of luck on 54, when he was caught at mid-wicket from the bowling of Kumar, only for the delivery to be correctly ruled a no-ball by umpire Peter Parker as it was a full toss over waist high.

He brought up his seventh one-day international century in fine style, lofting Patel to the mid-wicket boundary for his eighth boundary from the 141st ball he faced.

Sangakkara eventually fell in the 49th over in the quest for quick runs, holing out to Kumar on the mid-wicket boundary from the bowling of Irfan Pathan, having faced 155 balls and hit 12 boundaries.

Jayawardene batted superbly before being run out, facing 99 balls, hitting four boundaries and one imposing six over mid-wicket off the bowling of Ishant Sharma. - Sapa-AFP

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