Jayasuriya finally nails elusive Cup century

BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa (Reuters) – Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya has finally achieved one of the few major milestones to have eluded him by scoring his first World Cup century.

The explosive opener rectified this surprise omission with a sparking 120 to lead his side to a comprehensive 47-run win over New Zealand in their opening Group B match.

It was his 16th one-day hundred but his first at a World Cup after making no better than 82 at his three previous appearances in cricket’s biggest event.

“I was very pleased to do that today, not for me but for the team,” he said.

One of the heroes of Sri Lanka’s triumphant 1996 World Cup campaign, Jayasuriya played another brave captain’s knock when his team needed him most.

He was unusually subdued in the first 10 overs as New Zealand’s bowlers extracted what little life there was from the Goodyear Park pitch before suddenly springing into life.

The 33-year-old brought up his half-century when he hit Andre Adams through point for three successive fours then reached his hundred off 111 deliveries when he guided a bouncer from Shane Bond to the third man boundary.

Jayasuriya was given the benefit of the doubt over a confident appeal for caught behind off seamer Daryl Tuffey on 18 and dropped twice by wicketkeeper Lou Vincent on 86 and 93 but survived to punish the Kiwis.

“I thought he had to work pretty hard at times during the innings but he played a very patient game today,” Sri Lanka coach Dav Whatmore said.

“We’re all used to seeing Sanath hit it to all parts but it wasn’t until the ninth or 10th over that he played one of his trademark shots so from that point of view he is able to once again show he is able to get a hundred without whacking a 50 in the first 10 or 15 overs.

“When he does that, more times than not the teams wins…and I’m just glad he’s on my team.”


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