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Malinga, Samaraweera star in Lanka win

Lasith Malinga grabbed three wickets off five deliveries to bowl Sri Lanka to a crushing 97-run win over New Zealand in a tri-series match in Colombo on Tuesday. Anand Vasu reports.

cricket Updated: Sep 08, 2009 23:58 IST
Anand Vasu


Sri Lanka: T. Dilshan b Tuffey 4, S. Jayasuriya c Butler b Bond 7, M. Jayawardene c Taylor b Bond 0, K. Sangakkara c Oram b Butler 18, T. Samaraweera b Butler 104, T. Kandamby c Taylor b Vettori 15, A. Mathews b Bond 51, N. Kulasekara not out 6, T. Thushara not out 6
Extras (lb-3, w-2) 5
Total (for 7 wkts; 50 overs) 216
Fall of wkts: 1-4, 2-5, 3-22, 4-38, 5-69, 6-196, 7-204
Bowling: Tuffey 9-0-35-1, Bond 10-2-43-3, Butler 10-1-55-2, Oram 6-0-22-0, Vettori 8-0-31-1, N. McCullum 7-1-27-0.

New Zealand: B. McCullum b Malinga 14, J. Ryder lbw b Thushara 0, M. Guptill c Sangakkara b Kulasekara 3, R. Taylor lbw b Kulasekara 2, G. Elliott b Jayasuriya 41, J. Oram c Sangakkara b Malinga 4, N. McCullum b Malinga 0, D. Vettori lbw b Jayasuriya 10, I. Butler b Malinga 25, D. Tuffey run out 2, S. Bond not out 1
Extras (b-6, lb-1, w-10) 17
Total (for all out; 36.1 overs) 119
Fall of wkts: 1-2, 2-5, 3-7, 4-37, 5-41, 6-41, 7-76, 8-101, 9-116.
Bowling: Kulasekara 6-1-18-2, Thushara 6-1-5-1, Mendis 7-1-14-0, Malinga 6.1-0-28-4, Mathews 5-0-19-0, Jayasuriya 6-0-28-2.

Result: Sri Lanka win by 97 runs

Man of the match: Thilan Samaraweera

Even as cricket appeared to slam the door shut on one of its most loyal servants, it gave a fresh lease of life to others at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. In what might be the beginning of the end for Sanath Jayasuriya, the grand old man of Sri Lankan cricket battled 36 minutes for 7, in a top-order collapse that left his team teetering at 69 for 5.

The architects of that collapse were two bowlers who had all been lost to cricket. Till recently, if you wanted to watch Shane Bond, probably the only genuinely quick bowl with a 100 per cent clean action, or Daryl Tuffey, that master of picking up first-over wickets, you’d have to tune in to the now bust Indian Cricket League.

The recently returned pair- Tuffey wasn’t even officially a part of this squad, and did not even have a T-shirt with his name on it — turned it on from the word go.

Not one of Tillakaratne Dilshan, Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene or Thilina Kandamby could score even 20, and the game was as good as gone when Thilan Samaraweera, with an one-day international best of 38, and Angelo Mathews came together.

Samaraweera, who was the worst injured in the March Lahore attacks, was largely considered a Test specialist, and on the day the situation demanded a patient rearguard. Samaraweera bedded down, stoically refusing to force the pace, blocking, nudging and working the ball around for risk-free ones and twos.

Mathews, who is still making a name for himself, proved the perfect foil. For 143 balls, from the third over till the 27th, not one boundary was struck, but importantly New Zealand’s bowlers were prevented from making any inroads.

When Samaraweera and Mathews finally opened up, as late as the 40th over, Sri Lanka’s bowlers looked like they might be given something to work with. Samaraweera (104), whose compact strokes down the wicket were a treat to watch, forced the ball through point and cover, punching holes through the infield.

Mathews (51) concentrated on choosing the right ball to play the big shot, and was remarkably successful, putting on 127 for the sixth wicket with Samaraweera.

While 216 for 7 was certainly gettable, it would need discipline, perseverance and clever batting — the template laid down by Samaraweera and Mathews — from the Kiwis, and their batsmen comprehensively failed to deliver.

With lights taking effect, Thilan Thushara and Nuwan Kulasekara extracted just enough movement in the air and off the pitch to account for the top order. Jesse Ryder was trapped in front, Martin Guptill’s flirtation with wide deliveries continued and Ross Taylor played across the line and missed. The scoring ground to a halt, McCullum tried to emulate Samaraweera, and for a time the bowlers were kept at bay.

But when Lasith Malinga flattened McCullum’s off stump, had Jacob Oram caught behind and clean bowled Nathan McCullum in the 19th over, New Zealand had conceded the game.

They were 41 for 6, had no Samaraweera in their midst, and succumbed to a painful 97-run defeat.