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New Zealand v Sri Lanka, World Cup 2011, Group A, Mumbai

Murali and Sangakkara ease Sri Lanka top

The Report by Sahil Dutta

March 18, 2011

Comments: 59 | Text size: A | A

Sri Lanka 265 for 9 (Sangakkara 111, Jayawardene 66, Southee 3-63) beat New Zealand 153 (Taylor 33, Muralitharan 4-25) by 112 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Muttiah Muralitharan takes off after catching Scott Styris, New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Group A, World Cup 2011, Mumbai, March 18, 2011
Muttiah Muralitharan helped Sri Lanka ease past New Zealand at the Wankhede Stadium © Getty Images

Sri Lanka's old guard combined to ease to a 112-run victory over New Zealand at the Wankhede Stadium. Kumar Sangakkara made his first ODI century since June 2008, supported by a controversial 66 from Mahela Jayawardene, to haul Sri Lanka up to 265 before Muttiah Muralitharan spun New Zealand to defeat with 4 for 25.

Coming into the tournament as one of the favourites, Sri Lanka have not quite convinced so far and but for their three most experienced players might have struggled again. Instead the finish was the kind of one-sided result that has epitomised Group A.

New Zealand, though, will rue their misfortune when Jayawardene was reprieved at a critical moment. Sri Lanka had lost both openers and were struggling to get on top of the New Zealand slow bowlers when, in the 24th over, Jayawardene chipped a return catch to Nathan McCullum.

It went low to McCullum's right and the bowler dived full-length to scoop the ball centimetres off the turf. The batsman stood his ground and the decision was sent upstairs. Side-on replays seemed to clearly show McCullum's fingers under the ball but a front-on shot, as it so often does, created doubt that the third umpire, Amiesh Saheba, ruled on. Before then Jayawardene had scrambled for 50 deliveries to make 26 but silkily added a further 40 at a run a ball and Sri Lanka never looked back.

Sangakkara helped himself to a century that he's been waiting 64 matches for. Looking typically unhurried, he was content to work the ball around early on before unfurling some of the stylish strokes that are his hallmark as the innings went on. One six, eased down the ground off Scott Styris, told of a batsman in total

Smart stats

  • The 145-run partnership between Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene is the second-highest for Sri Lanka against New Zealand in a World Cup match.
  • Sangakkara and Jayawardene have put together 4724 partnership runs in ODIs, which is the highest by a non-opening pair. This was also their tenth century partnership in ODIs, which puts them in second place, next only to the Sachin Tendulkar-Rahul Dravid pair, who have 11.
  • In World Cups, this was their third century partnership in ten innings, but the first against a Test-playing team. Only three other non-opening pairs have got three hundred stands in World Cups.
  • The 112-run margin of victory is Sri Lanka's third-highest against New Zealand.
  • Muttiah Muralitharan's bowling returns of 4 for 25 is his second-best in World Cups, next only to his 4 for 19 against Ireland in 2007.
  • New Zealand's total of 153 is their fourth-lowest in a World Cup match, and their poorest against Sri Lanka.
control. The verbal exchanges that Jayawardene got involved with after his escape only served to fire him up and he was soon exhibiting the fluent form that had deserted him since his century against Canada in Sri Lanka's opening game.

The pair added 145 and the importance of the stand was demonstrated by what followed. Sangakkara rushed to his century with four boundaries in six deliveries but was out soon after for 111. Following his dismissal Sri Lanka lost five wickets for 55 in the final 8.2 overs. That they even got so many was almost entirely down to Angelo Mathews, who swatted 41 from 35 balls to thwart New Zealand's fightback.

In the end, the collapse was irrelevant but in the knockout stages, opposition teams will know beneath Sri Lanka's top order is a soft underbelly waiting to be exposed. New Zealand would have backed themselves to make a better fist of chasing but - despite dew, on a ground that will host the World Cup final, hampering the Sri Lanka spinners - Muralitharan and Mendis choked them into submission.

The early work was done by the quicks when Brendon McCullum was given out by the TV umpire after Jayawardene, of all people, claimed a low catch off Mathews. There was some uncertainty as the take was almost spilled at the last moment. TV replays were not entirely certain but, unlike the first time, the right decision was made and McCullum was sent on his was for 14. After Guptill fell for 13, Jesse Ryder and Ross Taylor threatened to make a match of it but the spinners took over.

Mendis' mystery may have faded with exposure but his variations proved too much for Ryder who nibbed a carrom-ball behind for a 23-ball 19. Muralitharan's introduction had been delayed after he picked up an injury while batting. Despite hobbling around, he was still devastating when he finally got into the attack in the 18th over.

A doosra took care of Kane Williamson for 5 before he landed the killer blow by spinning one back into Taylor's pads. Despite a big stride and a review, Taylor was rightly given out for 33 and his team never looked like competing. Scott Styris chipped a return catch to Muralitharan, who belied his injury to spring up and snaffle the chance, and Nathan McCullum and James Franklin soon followed. Between them Mendis and Muralitharan took six wickets for 49 in 14 overs.

Unlike the frenzied excitement in Group B, the qualifiers in Group A are already settled. Sri Lanka are guaranteed to finish second whatever happens between Australia and Pakistan, which might well leave them in line for a contest against the World Cup mysterybox, England, in the quarter finals.

Match Timeline

Sahil Dutta is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 59 
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Posted by Dummy4 on (March 21, 2011, 10:45 GMT)

ah a great match, but it would be better for the middle order to go out and practice for a couple of hours in the ground every day and focus ahead of the QF, SF and finals. should the middle order perform well, along with the top, given that murali and co are as effective as ever, the WC is SL's. remember guys, you are one of the best fielding sides as well, so please don't get into the knack of dropping catches. as sanga said, sl is capable of utilising the variability in bowling to capitalise on the opposition. however, it is better to perform in every department.. good luck boys, you can do it!!!!

Posted by Tuan on (March 20, 2011, 16:00 GMT)

If SL proved its capability with the bat effectively, their bowlers will do the rest. SL should feel good to face the scratchy Englishmen. SL have a good chance to jump into Semis....

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 20, 2011, 14:59 GMT)

"controversial 66 from Mahela Jayawardene"....? When did Cricinfo became Umpires?

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 20, 2011, 9:11 GMT)

My hat to cap sanga & Mahela, i am not running down with the openers, everytime you cannot expect from the openers, but, one have to play and acnchor roll in the opening stands.yet i am not happy with the middle order, i cannot understand why Chamara silva ? instead of Kapu who can rotate strike and good hard hitting.

Now the time to prove otherwise we are out from the game. good luck boys

Posted by Nathan on (March 20, 2011, 8:20 GMT)

SL may beat England in the Q Finals with this weak batting order(except for Kumar and Mahela), but in the S Finals their weakness will be exploited and sorry guys that will be the end for SL.

Posted by Sisitha on (March 20, 2011, 7:19 GMT)

I think the middle order is not great..but its being unfairly criticized. South Africa's lower middle order (after Duminy) is far worse but no one mentions it. The reason wickets fell yesterday was soley because of the pitch..it was one where you couldn't just come in and hit everything out the middle (unless your angelo mathews)...btw samaraweera is there for the day when top 4 go cheaply because he can bat long..silva can be good as we saw against pakistan. SL do lack the real consistent power hitters (if mathews fails) but their bowling more than makes up for it.

Posted by Dennis on (March 20, 2011, 1:20 GMT)

Mahela should have wallked , obviously woefully out of form needed to have two bats today , Karma will come back and haunt him and SL .

Posted by Anthony on (March 19, 2011, 23:10 GMT)

A facile victory for Sri Lanka. The only question for NZ was the controversial decision re McCullum's catch. Mahela Jayawardena had every right to stand his ground and this was justified by the third umpire's decision as was the right of McCullum's brother when he stood his ground. Both batsmen were unsure whether the catch was properly taken. Contrast this with Ponting's dismissal today against Pakistan when he knew that he definitely hit the ball. What did he expect if it went to review? The UDRS has been installed to deal with LBWs and the likes of the World's top batmen like Ponting & Tendulkar (in tests in SL when UDRS was first introduced and found out more than once!) who do not walk when they have clearly hit the ball. What would their batting averages be if UDRS was always there? We should look forward to the day when the complete UDRS package ( including Hot Spot and Snickometer) becomes mandatory for all ICC matches.

Posted by Asanka Sharmal on (March 19, 2011, 14:52 GMT)

Convincing win for Sri Lanka. Hope they are more confident about their abilities with this win. Good to see Mathews making some runs. He needs to use his head when batting rather than trying to hit the first ball he receives for a six. He should take a few balls to settle in. He is a batsman that can afford to spend some balls to settle in so that he can cash in later.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 19, 2011, 13:26 GMT)

I want to see chamara silva out & Thisara Perera In QF what is he doing ???

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Sahil Dutta Assistant editor Sahil Dutta grew up supporting England during the 90s. Despite this, he still enjoys the game. His unrequited passions for Graeme Hick and, in latter years, Vikram Solanki gave him a stoicism that guided him through an Economics degree and a stint working at the European Parliament. He maintains the purest love for Tests and the whims of legspin bowling and still harbours hope that he could be the answer to England's long search for a mystery spinner. As it is, his most exciting cricketing experience was planning a trip to Australia for the 2006-07 Ashes with two utterly indifferent friends. Unfortunately his lung collapsed shortly before his planned departure and the pair were left to wander around from Test to Test, unprepared and clueless. Any comparisons with England are far too obvious to make. That cancelled holiday inspired an Ashes blog which led, via some tea-making at the Wisden Cricketer, to the ESPNcricinfo towers.
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