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Jayasuriya tears England apart

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July 02, 2006 01:07 IST

Sanath Jayasuriya and Upul Tharanga produced the most spectacular opening partnership in one-day history to complete Sri Lanka's 5-0 series whitewash over England on Saturday.

Set a formidable 322 to win the fifth one-day international at Headingley, the pair both made explosive centuries to make a nonsense of the target as Sri Lanka cruised home by eight wickets with a massive 12.3 overs to spare.

The Sri Lankan openers, with an extraordinary exhibition of clean and effortless hitting, put on 286, a record opening stand in one-day internationals.

Jayasuriya, one day after his 37th birthday, ended with 152 off 99 balls, his 21st one-day international hundred and one of the great limited-over innings.

The 21-year-old Tharanga, only slightly less brutal, claimed his fourth century with 109 off 102 deliveries. It was also Sri Lanka's best one-day run chase.

No side had ever scored more than 300 in a one-day international at Headingley before England's 321 for seven, courtesy of Marcus Trescothick's 121, in the first innings. That record, though, did not last long.

Jayasuriya and Tharanga simply pummelled England's hopes of snatching a consolation win to avoid the first 5-0 whitewash in their history.

A comparison of the early overs of each innings best described the carnage. After four overs England, who had opted to bat, were two without loss. Sri Lanka at the same stage were 54 for nought.

After 10 overs, Engand had been 39 without loss; Jayasuriya, who reached his 50 off 26 balls and his 100 off 72, and Tharanga, who matched his team mate's strokeplay, had amassed 133 by then and the game was already as good as won.


The pair took the foot off the pedal for a while -- they even allowed their run rate to drop below 10 runs an over in the 18th over -- then upped the entertainment levels again while rubbing England's noses in their own inadequacies.

Both batsmen fell within sight of victory and both earned standing ovations, particularly Jayasuriya in what was certain to be his last international innings in England. He hit 20 fours and four sixes.

England may have been severely hamstrung by the absence of such bowlers as Andrew Flintoff and Simon Jones and their young replacements struggled to keep a tight line and length under intense pressure. The batting, though, was breathtaking.

Kabir Ali's first two overs had gone for 24, Liam Plunkett's for 25, while fellow seamer Tim Bresnan lasted just six balls before he was taken off after being hammered for 18. Steve Harmison, the only experienced bowler, fared even worse, with final figures of 10-0-97-0.

The Sri Lankan innings all but erased the memory of Trescothick's innings.

The left-handed opener scored 120 off 118 balls, although he was lucky not to be given out for 36 when he appeared to snick an inside edge behind. Finding his best form, he punished anything wide outside off stump to hit 16 fours and one six.

His century was England's first in the series, while Sri Lanka have hit six.

The previous biggest opening stand in one-day cricket was 258 by Sachin Tendulkar and Saurav Ganguly, set against Kenya in 2001.

The flags at Headingley were flown at half-mast on Saturday following the death of Yorkshire and England fast bowler Fred Trueman.

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