Hambantota: Mahela Jayawardene scored the fastest century by a Sri Lankan in World Cup as the hosts crushed a hapless Canada by 210 runs to open their campaign in the mega event in grand style, here on Sunday.
Riding on Jaywardene’s 81-ball 100 and skipper Kumar Sangakkara’s 87-ball 92, Sri Lanka rattled up a huge 332 for seven after winning the toss and then skittled out the minnows for just 122 with 13.1 overs to spare.
Canada were never in the chase after losing three wickets in the first four overs at a score of 12 as the Lankan bowlers toyed with the batting line-up of their rivals at the Mahinda Rajapaksha International Cricket Stadium.
Rizwan Cheema (37) was the top scorer for Canada as only four of their batsmen could manage the double digit score. Cheema’s fiery knock came off just 35 balls with four fours and two sixes.
Skipper Ashish Bagai was the only other batsman who defied the Lankan bowlers to some extent as he made 22 runs off 47 balls.
Lankan pace duo of Nuwan Kulasekara (3/16) and Thisara Perera (3/24) rocked the Canada top order with a fiery opening spell and shared six wickets between them to contribute in team’s easy win.
Spin ace Muttiah Muralitharan, who stifled the Canadian innings in the middle overs along with colleague Ajantha Mendis and part time slow bowlers, took two wickets at the expense of 38 runs in nine overs.
Earlier, Jayawardene plundered 100 runs off just 81 deliveries, his second World Cup ton, while Sangakkara struck 92 after Tillakaratne Dilshan (50) kick-started Sri Lanka’s campaign in the tournament with a solid half-century.
The experienced left-right duo of Jayawardene-Sangakkara scored briskly and added 179 runs in just 22 overs for a third-wicket stand that put the hosts -- who surprisingly left out express bowler Lasith Malinga from the final eleven – in the driving seat.
Jayawardne, who had 671 runs from 25 World Cup matches before on Sunday, got out after reaching his 12th ODI hundred, but Sangakkara was a little unlucky to have missed the landmark by just eight runs.
While Jayawardene hit nine boundaries and a six, Sangakkara found the fence seven times and cleared it once during their 179-run association, a commendable effort considering the sluggish pitch and the long boundaries.
A swept boundary off Cheema signalled Jayawardene’s intentions, who looked all at ease during his stay at the crease.
The elegant right-hander then hit Jimmy Hansra for a four in the 26th over, before Sangakkara whipped one off the same bowler over wide mid-on for a boundary.
The Sri Lankan skipper reached his fifty in style, pulling Harvir Baidwan over the infield for a four.
At the start, Dilshan launched Sri Lanka’s innings in a style so typical of him.
The dashing Sri Lankan opener began with an awkward boundary off Henry Osinde and then thumped Khurram Chohan’s innocous half-volley through extra cover for a similar result.
Chohan was again at the wrong end of Dilshan’s onslaught when the opener, after a brief interruption due to sightscreen problems, smashed a length ball through the covers.
Even as Dilshan continued to dominate the relatively inexperienced Canadian attack, his opening partner Upul Tharanga (19) got into the groove with an off-drive off Chohan but fell after getting a start, thanks to a horrible mix-up between the two batsmen.
Thanks to Dilshan, Sri Lanka scored 54 runs without losing a wicket in the mandatory powerplay, the 50 coming in 9.3 overs. The next powerplay, though, proved to be fruitful for Canada who conceded just 19 runs while taking a wicket.
A short ball from Baidwan in the 14th over helped Dilshan join the ODI 5000-run club. The bowler lands one outside off stump and Dilshan was on it in a jiffy, cracking it through the off side.
Dilshan holed out to deep cover while trying to go for one too many. Cheema landed one short and outside off, and a gleeful Dilshan went for it but failed to clear deep fielder.
His departure, however, did not slow down Sri Lankan progress as Jayawardene and Sangakkara kept the scoreboard moving at a healthy pace.