|Jayawardene blasted a six and nine fours in his 100 to set up a hefty 332-7 in partnership with Sangakkara [AFP]|
Mahela Jayawardene smashed an 80-ball century, the fastest by a Sri Lankan in the World Cup, to set up a 210-run victory over Canada on Sunday in Group A.
Jayawardene blasted a six and nine fours in his 100 to set up a hefty 332-7 after Sri Lanka won the toss and batted first.
He was joined for a 179-run third-wicket partnership by Kumar Sangakkara who was out eight runs short of his century.
In response, Canada lost wickets steadily although some lusty hitting by Rizwan Cheema (37) including two big sixes helped take them past three figures to their eventual 122 all out.
Pubudu Dasanayake, Canada’s coach, said his team proved powerless to stop a superior team once they started firing on all cylinders.
“We knew the weak points and strong points, in and out, of all the Sri Lankans. But the problem was that do we have the weapons to make it happen?” he said.
“Until the middle of the game we had a plan but Mahela and Sanga took the game away from us.”
Jayawardene’s quickfire knock surpassed the previous Sri Lankan fastest in the competition, 85 balls by Sanath Jayasuriya scored against Bangladesh in 2007 in Port of Spain.
He was out the next ball.
On a slow pitch and outfield where stroke making was difficult at a new stadium, Jayawardene adjusted his game beautifully to suit the conditions.
Jayawardene struck nine fours and a six. He survived two caught behind appeals at 11 and 22 as the referral system did not have the hot spot or the snickometer to guide the third umpire.
“To be fair to the Canadians, they bowled really well at the start. With the partnership between Kumar and me, we needed to change that rhythm in the middle overs and take control of the game,” he said afterwards.
Sangakkara was unfortunate not to score his maiden World Cup hundred when he was dismissed for 92, hitting an easy return catch to John Davison. He faced 87 balls and hit seven fours and a six.
The pair came together after Upul Tharanga was run out for 19 when he was sent back by his opening partner Tillakaratne Dilshan.
The run out was set up by Sri Lanka-born Ruvindu Gunasekera who fielded the ball and threw in from mid-off.
Dilshan completed his half-century off 58 balls but was out the next ball he faced, chasing a wide delivery from Davison and holing out to deep cover. He completed 5,000 runs in ODIs.
Sri Lanka’s varied bowling attack, even minus fast bowler Lasith Malinga who did not play due to a sore back, then proved too much for Canada.
Thisara Perera, who took Malinga’s place in the side, made a memorable World Cup debut with a wicket off his first ball, taking the prize scalp of Canada’s most experienced batsman, Davison, for a duck.
Perera ended up with figures of three for 24 while his new ball partner Nuwan Kulasekara had three for 16.