ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Vol. 41 - No 19

Tharanga leads Bangla bash

Sri Lanka eased in to a comfortable 37 run win over in the opening ICC Champions Trophy qualifier in Mohali after Man-of-the-match Upul Tharanga's century. Tharanga (105) hit 11 fours and a six to help them post 302-8, with Mohammad Rafique (1-37) the tidiest bowler.

Upul Tharanga

Farveez Maharoof then had Aftab Ahmed (33) and Habibul Bashar caught within three balls to leave the Tigers 78-4.

Ferhad Reza (33) attacked but he was stumped off Muttiah Muralitharan and the game already looked up at 141-5. Earlier, Mashrafa Mortaza found plenty of seam movement to trouble Sri Lanka's openers and Sanath Jayasuriya was fortunate to survive a confident lbw shout, but both left-handers got plenty of joy in the cover and point regions as they punished Syed Rasel and Farhad Reza's inviting medium pace.

It was a shock when Rasel trapped Jayasuriya leg before but Tharanga continued to play with real authority to record his fourth century in one-day internationals this year off 122 balls.

Mahela Jayawardene also went after the bowling, top-edging Reza for six and crashing three other boundaries in the same over, before fetching Abdur Razzak from outside off-stump straight into Ahmed's hands at mid-wicket.

It preceded a period of consolidation in which Razzak and Rafique's spin exercised some control and Kumar Sangakkara's frustration resulted in him holing out off Rafique to Mortaza running round from long-on.

Atapattu, returning after long-term back problems, looked in good nick but was one of three wickets to fall in quick succession in the late dash for runs.

Sri Lankan cricketer Uppal Tharanga raises his bat after completing a century (100 runs) during the first match of the Champions Trophy limited-overs tournament at The Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium in Mohali, 07 October 2006. Sri Lanka are currently 293 runs for the loss of seven wickets after 49 overs. Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar elected to field after winning the toss against Sri Lanka in the opening qualifying match of the Champions Trophy tournament.

Mortaza finally had some reward when Tharanga slogged and missed at his slower ball, Atapattu was snaffled at wide long-on off Rasel by Reza, who ran out Maharoof for a duck with a smart piece of fielding.

Chaminda Vaas flipped Razzak to backward square-leg where that man Reza pounced again and Muralitharan was run out in comical circumstances after battering Mortaza over his head for a mighty six and being dropped by Reza.

Amid all that chaos 28 runs came in the final two overs and it soon became clear that Bangladesh were unlikely to get close.

Sangakkara took a fine diving catch when Vaas found the edge of Shahriar Nafees' bat and Mohammad Ashraful tickled a quick one from Dilhara Fernando down the leg-side to the keeper.

Aftab attempted to lead a riposte by launching Fernando over long-leg for six and lacing him over mid-on. But any hopes of a revival were dashed when he too was caught behind and skipper Bashar edged guided the ball into opposite number Jayawardene's safe hands.

Reza was undaunted and blasted a six and three fours of Maharoof, although he was fortunate when Malinga pouched a chance off Muralitharan only to spill it. The end was not long in coming as his charge at the off-spinner resulted in an easy stumping chance.

Saqibul Hasan who made 69 not out in 108 balls top scored for Bangladesh.

-- BBC

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Copyright 2006 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.