Thu, Oct 12, 2006 - Page 19 News List

Tharanga smashes Sri Lanka to victory

TSUNAMI HERO The talented youngster hit his sixth ton in 31 matches as his team won their second match to virtually qualify for next week's second phase

AFP , AHMEDABAD, INDIA

Tsunami survivor Upul Tharanga hit a second successive century as Sri Lanka whipped Zimbabwe by 144 runs on Tuesday to virtually qualify for the main rounds of the Champions Trophy.

The 21-year-old left-hander followed his 105 against Bangladesh on Saturday with 110 as Sri Lanka piled up 285-7 in their 50 overs and then bowled out lowly Zimbabwe for 141.

Paceman Lasith Malinga claimed 3-25 and Dilhara Fernando and Muttiah Muralitharan picked up two wickets each, but Zimbabwe at least surpassed the 85 they made against the West Indies here on Sunday.

Sri Lanka were due to learn yesterday, when the West Indies took on Bangladesh in Jaipur, if they would advance to the main tournament starting on Sunday without resorting to mathematical calculations.

A West Indian win would put both Sri Lanka and Brian Lara's men through to the next round against Australia, India, Pakistan, South Africa, New Zealand and England.

A three-way tie would happen only if Bangladesh were to creat an upset and the West Indies beat Sri Lanka in Mumbai tomorrow to give all three teams two wins each.

Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene said there was nothing more his team could have done.

"We played two and won both so that is as good as it gets," he said. "We have one more match in hand against the West Indies and will certainly try to win that as well. The qualifiers are a good preparation for the main event but the number of extras we conceded [19 wides and seven no-balls] remains an area of concern."

"We will rectify that soon. I am very pleased the way we have played our two games so far," he added.

Tharanga's sixth one-day century from 31 matches was studded with 13 boundaries and a six that helped his team recover from a shaky start.

Tharanga put on 165 in 169 balls for the third wicket with his mentor Kumar Sangakkara (80) after Sri Lanka were struggling at 49-2 in the 11th over.

Both batsmen departed in successive overs attempting to force the pace, but Sri Lanka added 104 runs in the last 15 overs despite losing five wickets.

Tharanga made his international debut eight months after his home in Sri Lanka's west coast fishing town of Ambalangoda was swept away by the deadly tsunami which killed thousands across Asia in December 2004.

Tharanga shifted base to Colombo where Sangakkara sheltered the talented youngster and gave him his entire cricket kit.

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