Nagenahira v Wayamba, SLPL, Pallekele August 20, 2012

Jayawardene's 96 keeps Wayamba on top

Wayamba United 190 for 4 (Jayawardene 96*) beat Nagenahira Nagas 134 (A Perera 48*, Dananjaya 3-18) by 56 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

A breathtaking 96 off 50 deliveries from Mahela Jayawardene and another impressive turn by Akila Dananjaya saw Wayamba United establish themselves as the form side in the SLPL. Wayamba United amassed 190 for 4 before dismissing Nagenahira Nagas, the only other unbeaten side in the competition till today, for 134, in 19.5 overs. One more victory from their two remaining fixtures will guarantee Wayamba United a semi-final spot, but even if they lose, they will be difficult to displace from the top four.

The Nagas' reputation as the best attack in the tournament was dismantled almost poetically by Jayawardene in sumptuous form. Shaminda Eranga's final over cost 23, and he conceded 56 from his four. Ben Laughlin did little better, giving away 44 from his full quota.

Jayawardene began by punishing only the bad balls; a wide, overpitched delivery from Eranga was crashed over the covers, before two balls on leg stump were pushed firmly to the leg-side boundary. But eventually the improvisations came, and then even the good balls disappeared. An attempted yorker from Laughlin was scooped for six, Ajantha Mendis was charged and carted, and even when Eranga found the blockhole at the death, Jayawardene moved deep into the crease to manufacture length and swept the ball over square leg for six.

Jayawardene benefited from good fortune too, edging boundaries past the keeper and over leg stump, but the Nagas failed to take chances when they came, spilling four simple catches in eight balls as Wayamba United reaped 85 from the last six overs.

Dananjaya was playing his only fourth match outside school competition, but appears so much at ease that he could be taken for a veteran. He nabbed his best haul, taking 3 for 18 from four overs, and is making himself mighty difficult to leave out of the 15-man squad for the World Twenty20, due Friday at the latest.

The Nagas sparked in bursts during their reply, but were unable to sustain the sort of aggression that might have taken them close to their target. Travis Birt made a promising 25, before missing a straight one from Mohammad Hafeez, and the only other score of note was Angelo Perera's 39-ball 48, that was neither rapid nor substantial enough to compensate for a steady string of dismissals at the other end.

Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in Sri Lanka