ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features

38th match: New Zealand v Sri Lanka

Sangakkara ton flattens New Zealand

ESPNcricinfo staff

March 18, 2011

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Kumar Sangakkara plays one to the off side, New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Group A, World Cup 2011, Mumbai, March 18, 2011
Kumar Sangakkara's century was the standout performance at the Wankhede Stadium © Associated Press
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Kumar Sangakkara made his first ODI century since June 2008, supported by a controversial 66 from Jayawardene to haul Sri Lanka up to 265 before Muralitharan spun New Zealand to defeat with 4 for 25. His 111 came from 128 deliveries and included 12 fluent fours and a pair of silky sixes.

It was a century that he's been waiting 64 matches for. Looking typically unhurried, he was content to work the ball around rebuilding the innings after both openers fell inside the first five overs.

With his vice-captain in support, Sangakkara worked the strike over smartly and saw off the early threat. Hamish Bennett had proved effective in landing a series of quick yorkers but when he strayed outside off Sangakkara creamed a drive wide of mid-off to really get going. The partnership progressed well over a century and after the batting Powerplay was taken. Jayawardene fell immediately.

Rather than let his team stumble Sangakkara fought back straight away. In the 39th over, off Tim Southee, he struck three boundaries in a row to move into the nineties. First Tim Southee was slashed over point then the next ball was hit even harder in the same direction to clear the rope before the best of the lot. Southee switched to around the wicket to cut off the angle but Sangakkara backed away to give himself room and blazed the ball over third man for the third boundary. Like any of the top players he then kept the strike by pinching a single off the final delivery. That set him on 95 which became 99 a ball later clipping a full ball to fine leg and the hundred was secured with a single.

The work was as good as done then but in the field, alongside rallying his troops, Sangakkara held a crucial chance to dismiss Jesse Ryder and completed a stumping to give Muttiah Muralitharan his first wicket.

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