Jayawardene on the rampage

Mahela Jayawardene's quickfire hundred was the highlight of Sri Lanka's thumping victory over Canada at the Mahinda Rajapakse Stadium.

Veteran batsman Mahela Jayawardene scored a sparkling century as Sri Lanka crushed Canada by 210 runs in its opening World Cup match at the Mahinda Rajapakse Stadium on February 20.

The 33-year-old scored his 100 off 80 balls for his 13th one-day century — his second in World Cups and the fourth fastest in the history of the event — which boosted his team's total to 332 for seven, much to the enjoyment of a sell-out 35,000 crowd.

New-ball bowlers Nuwan Kulasekara (three for 16) and Thisara Perera (three for 24) combined to bundle Canada out for 122 in 36.5 overs.

The lop-sided contest once again gave weight to the International Cricket Council's decision to cut down the next World Cup — to be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand in 2015 — to the top 10 teams, minus minor nations.

Canada, who promised much by putting up a valiant fight against England during its 16-run defeat in a warm-up, found the co-host too tough to handle in both batting and bowling in the Group ‘A' clash.

Skipper Kumar Sangakkara mixed up his bowling options as Canada lost wickets at regular intervals once its most experienced batsman John Davison had been bowled off Perera's first delivery of the second over.

Hard-hitting Rizwan Cheema top-scored with 37, including two sixes off world record wicket taker Muttiah Muralitharan, while skipper Ashish Bagai, with 22, showed some resistance.

Earlier, Jayawardene laid the foundation for Sri Lanka's big total with an invaluable third wicket partnership of 179 with Sangakkara, who made 92.

Jayawardene and Sangakkara built on the platform set by opener Tillakaratne Dilshan (50) after Sri Lanka won the toss at this new ground which became the 177th one-day venue.

Jayawardene completed his hundred with a single off spinner Davison after facing just 80 deliveries — the fastest by a Sri Lankan in the World Cup, beating Sanath Jayasuriya's 85-ball ton against Bangladesh at Port of Spain four years ago.

But Davison dismissed him in the same over, caught at short fine-leg after Jayawardene had hit nine boundaries and a six.

Sri Lanka lost a cluster of wickets in the death overs, but Angelo Mathews (21) and Thilan Samarwaweera (18 not out) ensured they got past 300.

Dilshan (50) and Upul Tharanga put on a quick 63 for the first wicket by the 12th over before a mix-up between the two sent Tharanga back, run out for 19.

Dilshan fell just after scoring his third World Cup half-century, holing out at deep cover to Davison after hitting eight boundaries off 59 deliveries.

It was then left to Jayawardene and Sangakkara to punish a hapless Canadian attack, depleted by an injury to spearhead Henry Osinde who walked off the field due to a hamstring problem after bowling only 13 balls.

Jayawardene, who survived two caught behind referral appeals against spinner Jimmy Hansra, upped the tempo by hitting the same bowler for the first six at this ground.

He then clobbered four boundaries in successive overs from Davison, but the veteran Canadian broke the partnership by having Sangakkara caught and bowled.

Sangakkara hit seven fours and a six during his 87-ball knock.


Sri Lanka 332 for seven in 50 overs (T. Dilshan 50, K. Sangakkara 92, M. Jayawardene 100) beat Canada 122 in 36.5 overs (Rizwan Cheema 37, Kulasekara three for 16, Perera three for 24).