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Jayawardene leads Lanka to series win

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June 24, 2006 23:58 IST

Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene led Sri Lanka to a one-day series victory over England on Saturday with a chanceless unbeaten century at Durham's Chester-le-Street.

Sri Lanka completed an eight-wicket victory with nearly eight overs to spare to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.

England's pace bowlers produced one of their most abject displays in recent years as the 1996 World Cup champions, deprived of match-winning spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, waltzed to their victory target of 262.

Jayawardene, a graceful, wristy right-hander, was as sublime as England were wretched. His run-a-ball 126 not out included 19 fours while his first 50 came off only 40 balls. He reached three figures with a perfect back-foot drive to the boundary off strike bowler Steve Harmison.

To put the carnage in perspective England, having opted to bat, managed 23 fours and one six in their 50 overs as they made 261 for eight, with Ian Bell top-scoring with 77. Sri Lanka had hit 15 fours and a six in their first 10 overs and equalled England's boundary total just after the halfway stage in their innings.

Captain Andrew Strauss was forced to throw the ball to part-timers Paul Collingwood and Bell after just 11 overs, by which time the score had raced to 88 for one as the Sri Lankan batsmen gleefully cut a succession of short, wide deliveries over gully and point.


Liam Plunkett's first three overs went for 28 while Sajid Mahmood, who began by running out Sanath Jayasuriya for a 13-ball 23 off his own bowling, conceded 27 off his first three.

With victory assured, Sri Lanka's batsmen eased off against England's off spinners before ambling home.

England's pace bowling, deprived of the likes of the injured Andrew Flintoff and Simon Jones, looked as unfit for purpose as ther leading batsman Kevin Pietersen.

Pietersen went into the game with a badly bruised knee, made six and then limped painfully through the rest of a one-sided contest after the umpires refused to allow him to be substituted as a fielder.

Their batting had not been much better either.

England looked one-paced and lacking the imagination of their opponents in their strokeplay. Their only consolation was a 62-run opening stand between Strauss and Marcus Trescothick.

By the 21st over, though, it was 92 for three. Strauss, having looked good for 32, played across Chaminda Vaas's left-arm medium pace and fell lbw.

Trescothick, with 36 off 39 deliveries, played over a straight one to give Vaas his second success and then Pietersen lashed out as a short, wide ball from Lasith Malinga and feathered behind after scoring just six.

With that, the innings deflated. Bell and Collingwood put on 53 with tip-and-run cricket but Collingwood became the third man to get out in the 30s as he drove Malinga Bandara's leg spin straight to short extra cover.

Bell, the anchor man, was thus forced to take the lead role. It took him 69 of his 114 balls to score his first boundary although Jamie Dalrymple showed him the way by hoisting Bandara for a straight six, then clattering Vaas for three fours off an over. He made a breezy 35 off 32 balls while Geraint Jones made 22 not out off 13.

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