Run machine Kumar Sangakkara has sounded a warning ahead of his side’s one-day series with Australia, smashing a century to lead Sri Lanka to victory in their opening tour game at the Gabba.
The Sri Lankan skipper was in ominous touch as he cruised to 110 off 95 balls and the visitors opened their Australian tour by rolling the Queensland Bulls by 113 runs.
Set 302 for victory, the Bulls chase never got out of second gear, with Craig Phillipson (69 off 62) the only batsman to trouble the visitors.
Skipper Chris Simpson (31 off 37) and 20-year-old Chris Lynn (31 off 29) both got starts they were unable to convert.
But as concerning as the tepid run chase will be to the Queensland camp, the form of Sangakkara will be just as ominous for the national team.
Michael Clarke’s Australian side, currently winless in its three-game ODI series in India, can expect little reprieve when they fly home, with the wicketkeeper batsman hitting his straps ahead of a Twenty20 game on October 31 to open the international season.
The teams then meet for three one-day internationals before Australia turns its attention to the Ashes on November 25.
With strike bowlers Muttiah Muralitharan and Lasith Malinga and veteran batsmen Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan being rested, Sangakkara took it upon himself to set a big target.
He hit 10 fours and five sixes, including a towering pull shot off spinner Cameron Boyce to bring up his century before his side finished at 7 for 301 off 50 overs.
Bulls skipper Chris Simpson embarked on a captain’s knock of his own to start the Queensland run chase, hitting five boundaries on his way to 31 off 37 at the top of the innings.
But his knock was cut short when he was trapped in front by Nuwan Kulasekara.
With opening partner Ryan Broad also back in the sheds after tickling a Dammika Prasad delivery to wicketkeeper Sangakkara, the Bulls were on shaky ground at 2 for 45.
And it only got worse, with Lee Carseldine (3) and Nathan Reardon (0) paying only quick visits to the crease.
That brought Lynn (31 off 29) and Phillipson together and the pair put on 57 for the fifth wicket.
A week after impressing with a half century against Victoria in the Ryobi One-Day Cup, 20-year-old Lynn was again in an aggressive mindset.
He hit four boundaries and a six before falling on his sword and skying a delivery from Dilhara Fernando to Sangakkara.
But as happened twice earlier in the innings, wickets came in pairs. This time it was wicketkeeper Chris Hartley (2) and 19-year-old Jason Floros (4), who both caught off the bowling of Fernando.
The lights finally went out on the Bulls chase when Phillipson was caught by Angelo Matthews off Jeevan Mendis 134 runs short of the target. Fernando (4 for 41) and Dammika Prasad (3 for 27) were the best of the Sri Lankan bowlers.
India, Sri Lanka favourites to win World Cup: Rodney Marsh
Dubai, Oct 22 (IANS) Former Australian wicket-keeper Rodney Marsh has tipped the sub-continent’s countries to win the cricket World Cup in 2011, co-hosted by India, Sri lanka and Bangladesh.
Marsh, who played in the 1975 and 1983 World Cups in England said Thursday the teams from the south Asian sub-continent will be the ones to watch out for next year.
‘I think the fact that the tournament is being held in the sub-continent means it will be very difficult for teams England, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa to win. I would think a team from Asia would be successful, perhaps Sri Lanka, I quite fancy them for the title and of course India,’ said Marsh.
On how Australia will fare in the tournament, Marsh opined: ‘We will get a fair idea of how Australia are going to fair in the World Cup once we have seen the results of the one-day games they are playing against India and also against England. We will also get an idea of how England and India are going to fare too with those results’.
Marsh represented Australia in 92 one-day internationals.