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Sanath blasts Kiwis
(LeN-2006 Dec 28, 12.45pm) A quickfire century by veteran opener Sanath Jayasuriya propelled Sri Lanka to an easy seven wicket victory over New Zealand in the opening one-day cricket international here today.

Jayasuriya hit 111 from just 82 balls as Sri Lanka overhauled New Zealand's respectable 8-285 including an undefeated 128 from rookie Ross Taylor with 10 overs to spare on an ideal batting surface at McLean Park.

Jayasuriya and fellow opener Upal Tharanga plundered the wayward attack, smashing 90 runs from the first 10 overs and hitting another 50 from the next five.

The 37-year-old Jayasuriya showed no signs of age as he hit 12 fours and five sixes in his whirlwind innings.

James Franklin dispatched both openers in consecutive balls in the 25th over, bringing to an end the 201 run partnership.peJayasuriya was caught a few steps inside the backward point boundary and Tharanga offered a nick to wicketkeeper Brendon McCallum.

But Sri Lanka's victory was all but in the bag, with skipper Mahela Jayawadene (34 not out) and Kumar Sangakkara (36) ensuring the win.

The absence of the home side's top bowlers, including star speedster Shane Bond who was being rested, cost New Zealand dearly.

New Zealand pace bowlers Andre Adams, Michael Mason and debutant Mark Gillespie all conceded more than seven runs an over.

Left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori, standing in as skipper for a resting Stephen Fleming, was the only bowler to emerge with his reputation intact, finishing with 1-36 from eight overs.

Taylor and veteran Nathan Astle (83) provided the backbone of the New Zealand innings in a 151-run partnership, which at one stage appeared likely to set up a huge total.

But New Zealand lost six wickets for 63 runs in the last 12 overs as Sri Lanka's bowlers found the tight line which had eluded them earlier.

The big-hitting Taylor, playing only his third one-day international, scored his first international century off 133 balls in a masterful innings which included four sixes and 12 fours. The 22-year-old brought up his century in the 44th over and had to battle cramp as he struggled through to end of the innings.

Astle survived some shaky early overs and poor recent form to recover his swashbuckling style of old. His innings ended cruelly when bowler Jayasuriya deflected a drive from Taylor on to the stumps at the non-striker's end, leaving Astle stranded outside the crease.

The wily Chaminda Vaas, with 3-50, was the pick of Sri Lanka's bowlers, taking the wickets of Vettori and James Marshall in consecutive balls to put the brakes on the New Zealand innings.

Lasith Malinga made up for a loose early spell with two late wickets for a tally of 2-66.
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