Section: Sri Lanka

Cricket World Cup: South Africa ease into semi-finals

South Africa cruised into the World Cup semi-finals with a one-sided thrashing of a sorry Sri Lanka in Sydney.

World Cup quarter-final, Sydney:
Sri Lanka 133 (37.2 overs): Sangakkara 45, Tahir 4-26
South Africa 134-1 (18 overs): De Kock 78*
South Africa won by nine wickets

Off-spinner JP Duminy took a hat-trick and leg-spinner Imran Tahir 4-26 as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 133.

The Proteas then eased to their target for the loss of only one wicket in 18 overs, with Quinton de Kock making an unbeaten 78.

They go on to a last-four meeting with New Zealand or West Indies in Auckland on Tuesday.

South Africa’s first knockout victory in 23 years of playing World Cup cricket takes them to a first semi-final since a famous defeat by Australia in 1999.

In reaching their target with 32 overs to spare, AB de Villiers’ side also completed the fastest successful run chase in a World Cup knockout match as Sri Lanka, finalists in the previous two World Cups, wilted.

Their lacklustre display was not befitting what turned out to be the final international match for Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara’s last ODI. The duo have scored 117 international centuries between them.

After the Proteas’ pace bowlers made early inroads, the spin pair of Duminy and Tahir took advantage of a succession of loose shots, while South Africa were excellent in the field throughout.

Sangakkara, on the back of four successive hundreds, made a painstaking 45 and Lahiru Thirimanne a counter-attacking 41, but no other batsman reached 20.

To cap South Africa’s day, wicketkeeper De Kock, who had managed only 53 runs in his six previous innings, returned to form with a string of cover drives.

Still, their victory was built on a brilliant bowling performance after losing the toss on an excellent pitch.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: Sangakkara scores fourth successive century for Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara became the first player to score four successive one-day international centuries as his side beat Scotland at the World Cup.

World Cup Pool A, Hobart:
Sri Lanka 363-9 (50 overs): Sangakkara 124, Dilshan 104, Davey 3-63
Scotland 215 (43.1 overs): Coleman 70, Mommsen 60, Kulasekara 3-20
Sri Lanka won by 148 runs

The 37-year-old hit 124 in a total of 363-9 in Hobart, to go with his previous tons in the tournament against Bangladesh, England and Australia.

Sangakkara passed 500 ODI dismissals as Scotland were bowled out for 215.

Captain Preston Mommsen and Freddie Coleman scored half centuries but Sri Lanka finish with four wins in Pool A.

They look set to face South Africa in the first of the quarter-finals in Sydney on Wednesday.

Although they posted their best ever total batting second against a Test-playing nation, a fifth defeat means Scotland remain without a win. They will play co-hosts Australia in their final match on Saturday in Hobart.

On a day of records at Bellerive Oval, left-hander Sangakkara recorded his fifth World Cup century and is now one behind the record of six held by India’s Sachin Tendulkar.

He has now scored 14,189 ODI runs and only Tendulkar (18,426), who retired in 2013, has more runs for their country in the 50-over format.

Sangakkara, who became the first ever player to score four centuries at a World Cup, has previously suggested he will retire from ODI cricket at the end of the tournament.

The wicketkeeper has enjoyed a prolific spell in the last 12-18 months, becoming the fastest player to reach 12,000 Test runs in January in the same match in which he scored his 11th double century, moving him one behind the record held by Australian great Don Bradman.

“I’ve been batting and keeping for a long time, it’s getting harder and the joints are creaking and aching, but I consider myself lucky to be part of a great team,” he said.

“No matter how hard you try, it’s hard to pinpoint why I’m playing so well.

“Maybe I’m making better decisions at the crease, I don’t know. Whatever it is, it’s working for me at the moment.”

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: Australia overcome Sri Lanka in Sydney

Glenn Maxwell hit the second-fastest century in World Cup history as Australia beat Sri Lanka by 64 runs to advance to the quarter-finals.

World Cup Pool A, Sydney:
Australia 376-9 (50 overs): Maxwell 102, Smith 72, Clarke 68, Watson 67
Sri Lanka 312 (46.2 overs): Sangakkara 104, Dilshan 62, Chandimal 52
Australia won by 64 runs

Maxwell’s first one-day international ton, reached off 51 balls, inspired Australia’s total of 376-9 in Sydney.

Sri Lanka fell short in a spirited run chase despite a third consecutive World Cup century from Kumar Sangakkara and a quickfire 52 from Dinesh Chandimal.

Australia are likely to meet either Ireland or Pakistan in the last eight.

Michael Clarke’s side, who face Scotland in their final Pool A match in Hobart on 14 March, should finish second behind New Zealand in their group, and would therefore meet the team that finishes third in Pool B.

Sri Lanka, who lie in third place in the group with six points from their five matches, also face Scotland in their final Pool A match in Hobart on 11 March.

Maxwell hit 10 fours and four sixes in an innings of 102 that combined deft placement with power hitting, as the 26-year-old finally reached three figures in his 45th ODI.

He was denied a share of the fastest World Cup century arguably only by his own honesty, after he answered in the negative when asked by umpire Ian Gould whether he had got a touch on a legside glance off Lasith Malinga in the 45th over.

Maxwell bought up his hundred in the next over, off 51 deliveries, one more than it took Ireland batsman Kevin O’Brien to decimate the England attack in Bangalore in 2011. However, it is the fastest ODI century by an Australian, beating James Faulkner’s 57-ball century against India in 2013.

The Victorian received a bear-hug from batting partner Shane Watson, who hit 67 runs in 41 balls on his return to the side after being dropped for the previous match against Afghanistan.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: England thrashed by Sri Lanka

England slipped to a third crushing defeat in four World Cup games as Sri Lanka comfortably chased 310 to win by nine wickets in Wellington.

World Cup Pool A, Wellington (Regional Stadium)
England 309-6 (50 overs): Root 121, Bell 49
Sri Lanka 312-1 (47.2 overs): Thirimanne 139*, Sangakkara 117*
Sri Lanka won by nine wickets

Lahiru Thirimanne hit an unbeaten 139 and Kumar Sangakkara 117 not out to seal victory with 16 balls to spare.

Earlier, Joe Root made 121 as England accelerated late on to post 309-6.

But Sri Lanka showed that to be nowhere near enough and England will almost certainly be eliminated if they lose either of their final two games against Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

If opening defeats by Australia and New Zealand and victory overScotland were expected, then this fixture was supposed to be the best indicator of England’s chances of progressing far into the World Cup.

As it turned out, a third one-sided reverse at the hands of Test opposition leaves England clinging to their hopes of reaching the last eight.

Indeed, if Bangladesh beat Scotland on Thursday, then England will go out if they lose either of their remaining group games.

While their previous game in Wellington, an eight-wicket thrashing by New Zealand, was humiliating for its rapid nature, this latest loss was perhaps more dispiriting.

England put in their best batting display of the tournament thanks to Root’s accumulation and creativity and Jos Buttler’s late power.

But Thirimanne and Sangakkara made a mockery of the chase as England’s pace-dominated attack struggled to make chances on a sluggish wicket.

When they did create opportunities, they were not taken. Thirimanne was dropped on three by Root at slip, although the edge off Stuart Broad should have been claimed by wicketkeeper Buttler.

The left-hander also had a let-off on 98, Moeen Ali failing to take a low chance in the covers off James Anderson.

After that, Thirimanne, whose innings was laced with classy cover drives, became the fourth Sri Lanka batsman to score a hundred in this World Cup.

He shared an unbroken stand of 212 with Sangakkara, who moved third on the list of World Cup run scorers  with a 70-ball century, scoring through 360 degrees.

On the completion of the chase, Sri Lanka – 10-wicket winners against England in the quarter-finals of the last World Cup – became only the second team to overhaul a score of 300 or more with nine wickets in hand.

It also cemented England’s unwanted record of being the least successful of all the Test nations when defending a target in excess of 300.

That Eoin Morgan’s side posted their highest total of the tournament came as a result of 24-year-old Root becoming the youngest England batsman to score a World Cup century.

Given a good start by Ian Bell’s 49, England were pegged back as Sri Lanka’s attack improved by taking pace off the ball, Tillakaratne Dilshan having Gary Ballance caught and bowled to extend the left-hander’s poor sequence to only 36 runs in four innings.

At 101-3 in the 21st over, Root arrived to stabilise the innings with Morgan, with the Yorkshire batsman – dropped on two at slip – then dominating a stand of 98 with James Taylor.

Strong square of the wicket, Root reached a fourth ODI hundred at a run a ball, then accelerated by inventively reverse-sweeping the seamers.

After Root fell, England were pushed past 300 by Buttler. Their total seemed competitive, Thirimanne and Sangakkara proved that it was not.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: Sri Lanka beat Afghanistan to avoid shock

Mahela Jayawardene hit his 19th one-day international century to help Sri Lanka beat Afghanistan by four wickets and avoid a major World Cup upset.

World Cup Pool A, University Oval, Dunedin:
Afghanistan 232 (49.4 overs): Stanikzai 54, Malinga 3-41, Mathews 3-41
Sri Lanka 236-6 (48.2overs): Jayawardene 100, Hassan 3-45
Sri Lanka won by four wickets

Tournament debutants Afghanistan sensed a shock after reducing Sri Lanka to 2-2 and then 18-3 in Pool A in Dunedin.

But Jayawardene (100) put on 126 with captain Angelo Mathews (44) and although both departed, Sri Lanka held on to win with 10 balls left.

Asghar Stanikzai with 54 was the top scorer in Afghanistan’s 232 all out.

The win was Sri Lanka’s first of the tournament following their heavy defeat by New Zealand in the opening match, while Afghanistan remain without a point but above England and Scotland – who meet on Monday – on run rate.

“We really need to raise our standards to compete against the top teams,” said Mathews, whose side face Bangladesh on Thursday, with further group fixtures to come against Australia, England and Scotland.

“I am feeling relieved at the moment but I thought we came back well. It was a see-saw kind of game. They started off well and then we pulled it back in the end. I knew I had to stay out there with Mahela to get some kind of stand going.”

The 1996 champions made a terrible start to their run chase at the University Oval, losing both openers to first-ball ducks.

Dawlat Zadran trapped Lahiru Thirimanne leg before wicket off the first ball of the Sri Lanka reply and fellow pace bowler Shapoor Zadran had Tillakaratne Dilshan caught behind to leave the Test-playing side in a state of shock.

Hamid Hassan then bowled veteran Kumar Sangakkara for seven, leaving Sri Lanka 18-3, and celebrated with a cartwheel and an exuberant wave to the crowd.

Hassan saw off Dimuth Karunaratne for 23, and that brought the experienced pair of Jayawardene and Mathews together with the score 51-4 after 12 overs.

Jayawardene played with the calmness and authority you would expect from a man playing his 443rd one-day international.

The pair looked like they would complete victory on their own but Mathews was run out in the 41st over attempting a quick single.

Jayawardene brought up his fourth World Cup century two balls later but Hassan revived Afghanistan’s hopes by dismissing the 37-year-old just three balls later.

However, Thisara Perera, with an aggressive 47 not out from 26 balls, and Jeevan Mendis (nine not out) came together in a stand of 58 to finish off the job.

The Afghanistan innings, which ended with two balls remaining in the final over, was built around an 88-run third-wicket partnership between Stanikzai and Samiullah Shenwari (38).

It was not until Stanikzai was dismissed by Rangana Herath with Afghanistan 128-3 in the 28th over, that Sri Lanka started to get a grip on the game.

That marked the start of a collapse that saw Afghanistan lose four wickets for 47 runs in 11 overs, with Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga and Mathews both finishing with 3-41.

It was Afghanistan’s fifth-highest score against a Test-playing nation but their total could have been higher but for poor shot selection.

Captain Mohammad Nabi admitted his team’s total was always going to be hard to defend.

“I felt we were short by 30-40 runs. We bowled really well in the first 10-15 overs, and we put pressure on them in the end. We kept them to a tight game, so we are pleased by that,” said Nabi, whose team next play Scotland in Dunedin on Thursday.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: New Zealand beat Sri Lanka in opener

Co-hosts New Zealand got off to a winning start with a resounding 98-run victory over Sri Lanka in the opening match of the World Cup in Christchurch.

2015 Cricket World Cup, Christchurch (Hagley Oval):
New Zealand 331-6 (50 overs): Anderson 75, B McCullum 65
Sri Lanka 233 (46.1 overs): Thirimanne 65, Anderson 2-18, Vettori 2-34
New Zealand won by 98 runs

Captain Brendon McCullum struck 65 off 49 balls as the Black Caps put on a rapid 111 for the first wicket.

Kane Williamson added a composed 57 before Corey Anderson blasted 75 off 46 balls to help the hosts to an imposing total of 331-6 from their 50 overs.

In reply, Sri Lanka subsided to 233 all out, with Daniel Vettori taking 2-34.

New Zealand, who play England next, have reached six World Cup semi-finals without ever going on to make the final.

The Black Caps, however, are one of the favourites for this tournament, and this powerful performance against the 2011 finalists underlined why they are so highly-rated.

“We executed our blueprint with the bat,” said McCullum. “It was a really good performance all round. We have been waiting a long time for this so it is great to complete our plans.”

Put in under grey skies, the hosts immediately attacked the Sri Lanka bowlers with some explosive hitting in the first powerplay.

Williamson recorded his 13th fifty in his last 17 ODIs, before Anderson, playing in his home city, helped New Zealand to add a crucial 102 in the final 10 overs.

Sri Lanka won the World Cup in 1996 and reached the final of the last two tournaments, but they will have to improve on this performance in order to challenge at this tournament.

Influential fast bowler Lasith Malinga was disappointing, conceding 84 runs in 10 wicketless overs.

Sri Lanka’s chase began well, with opener Lahiru Thirimanne hitting 65, but was soon derailed by the pace of Trent Boult and the spin of Vettori.

They collapsed from 124-1 to 168-6, with Boult, Adam Milne and Vettori, who reversed his retirement from ODIs last year, capturing two wickets each, and their innings never recovered.

They will hope for a rapid return to form when they face Afghanistan on Saturday.

“They probably scored 30 or 40 runs too many and then we needed someone in our top four to get a hundred,” said captain Angelo Matthews.

“But we are not going to panic, we still have five group games left.”

Read more at BBC Sport

 

Cricket: New Zealand v Sri Lanka: Kiwis seal series with Dunedin win

New Zealand claimed the one-day series with Sri Lanka, taking an unassailable 4-1 lead with a 120-run win in the penultimate match in Dunedin.

Kane Williamson (97) and Ross Taylor (96) hit two sixes apiece during a stand of 117 in 123 balls as the Kiwis posted 315-8 having opted to bat first.

Sixth one-day international, Dunedin
New Zealand 315-8 (50 ovs) bt Sri Lanka 195 (40.3 ovs) by 120 runs

Kumar Sangakkara (81) made his 93rd one-day international fifty but fell in the 38th over, the eighth wicket to go.

Sri Lanka were all out soon after for 195. The final game is on Thursday.

It was an emphatic victory for the Kiwis, who meet the Sri Lankans in the opening match of the World Cup on 14 February.

Williamson was badly dropped on 27 by Tillakarate Dilshan at short cover and reached fifty from 60 balls, but he was denied a sixth ODI century when he was run out after finding himself at the same end as Taylor when in pursuit of a second run.

Corey Anderson added 40 in 28 balls and hit three fours in an over from seamer Thisara Perera that cost 19.

Taylor struck sixes in consecutive overs before he was trapped lbw on the toe in the 47th over, but his team compiled the second highest total at the University Oval, to follow the record they set in the previous match.

The Sri Lankans made a solid start, reaching 55-0 after 12 overs before Dilshan and opening partner Lahiru Thirimanne departed in successive overs.

Sangakkara reached fifty from 39 balls, but having struck successive boundaries off left-arm seamer Trent Boult he got a leading edge and spooned a catch to mid-on, as New Zealand took control.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket: New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by 193 runs to win Test series 2-0

New Zealand completed a fine comeback to beat Sri Lanka by 193 runs and win the two-Test series 2-0.

Second Test, Basin Reserve, Wellington (day five):
New Zealand (221 & 524-5 dec) beat Sri Lanka (356 & 195) by 193 runs

Kane Williamson and BJ Watling’s Test record sixth-wicket partnership on day four hauled the Kiwis back into the match, having trailed by 135 on first innings in Wellington.

Mark Craig took 4-53 as the hosts bowled out Sri Lanka for 196.

“The last little while we’ve played some outstanding cricket,” said New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum.

New Zealand have not lost a Test series since being beaten in England in May 2013.

Since then, the Kiwis have won in West Indies and India, beaten West Indies away and drawn against Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Resuming on 45-1 in pursuit of an improbable 390 for victory, Sri Lanka slipped to 110-5 by lunch, and New Zealand wrapped up victory with a session to spare.

McCullum said: “To be able to fight our way out of an incredibly precarious position and not just save the Test, but to go on and win it in the manner that we did is testament to the work these guys do off the field.”

The sides start a seven-match one-day series on 11 January in Christchurch.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket: New Zealand v Sri Lanka: Williamson & Watling set Test record sixth-wicket stand

Kane Williamson and BJ Watling shared a world record sixth-wicket partnership of 365 as New Zealand dominated Sri Lanka on day four of the second Test.

Second Test, Wellington (Basin Reserve) (day four):
New Zealand 221 & 524-5 dec v Sri Lanka 356 & 45-1

Captain Brendon McCullum declared on 524-5, leaving Sri Lanka needing 390 in 107 overs at Wellington’s Basin Reserve to win and square the two-match series.

Williamson hit an unbeaten 242, his first Test double century while Watling made 142 not out, his fourth Test ton.

The record tops the 352 Watling and McCullum made against India last year.

That feat was also achieved at the Basin Reserve, where a bronze plaque marking the achievement had only been set in concrete three days ago.

Williamson spent more than 10 hours at the crease, scoring his ninth Test century and the seventh highest score by a New Zealander.

The 24-year-old faced 438 deliveries, scoring 18 fours, while Watling posted a career-best 142, with nine fours and a six as Sri Lanka toiled.

The tourists had reached 45-1 by the close after Dimuth Karunaratne fell for 17, leaving his opening partner Kaushal Silva (20 not out) and nightwatchman Dhammika Prasad to see them through the final overs.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket: New Zealand v Sri Lanka: Kumar Sangakkara closes in on Don Bradman double hundred record

Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara scored his 11th Test double century to move one behind Australia legend Don Bradman’s all-time record.

Second Test, Wellington (day two):
New Zealand 221 all out & 22-0 Sri Lanka 356 all out

He made 203 on day two of the second Test against New Zealand to help his side to 356 all out, a lead of 135.

Sangakkara will quit one day international cricket after the World Cup, which starts in February.

But the 37-year-old said he will “see whether there is a few more months of cricket in me Test-wise”.

Sangakkara, who spent the majority of his Test career keeping wicket – claiming 178 catches and 20 stumpings before giving up the gloves – also became the fastest player to reach 12,000 Test runs on day one.

“It just depends on how everything pans out after this World Cup,” added the former law student.

“It’s really hard to predict what will happen and what my thoughts will be at the end of the World Cup about my future.”

Day two in Wellington ended with the Kiwis 22-0 in their second innings.

Sri Lanka need to win the Test to level the two-match series after aneight-wicket loss in Christchurch.