HOBART: March 11: Kumar Sangakkara became the first batsman to hit four successive centuries in a World Cup and Tillakaratne Dilshan stroked a fluent hundred in Sri Lanka’s 363-9 against Scotland in a Pool A match at Bellerive Oval on Wednesday.
His team have already booked a place in the quarter-finals but Sangakkara’s insatiable appetite for runs continued unabated as he added 195 runs with Dilshan (104) against Scotland’s limited bowling resources on a perfect batting track.
Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews (51) also joined the party, clobbering six sixes in his 21-ball blitz in the frantic final phase of the innings when ropes were cleared and wickets tumbled regularly.
Sangakkara (124), who went into the match as the highest run-getter at this year’s tournament, reached the 100-mark in 86 balls and went on to consolidate his position at the top of the batting table with another scintillating knock.
Dilshan hit 10 fours and a six in his fluent innings before falling to Josh Davey (3-63) in the 35th over.
Earlier, Mathews won the toss and decided to bat first but Scotland did well to restrict Sri Lanka to 46-1 after 10 overs.
Dilshan and Sangakkara consolidated the innings before counter-attacking near the halfway mark when Dilshan hit Davey for back-to-back fours and followed it with a six.
Soon the former captains got into a competition to reach the century first. Dilshan completed his 22nd ODI hundred in the 34th over with a single that brought Sangakkara on strike and the 37-year-old southpaw achieved his on the very next ball.
After Dilshan’s fall, Sangakkara hit Alasdair Evans for four boundaries and a six in a 24-run over.
Davey dealt a double blow in the next over, dismissing Mahela Jayawardene and Sangakkara off successive deliveries to become the tournament’s highest wicket-taker.
Jayawardene ballooned a miscued shot to the mid-off fielder and Sangakkara fell caught behind after his 95-ball knock that contained 13 boundaries and four sixes.
Mathews hit Matt Machan for four successive sixes to race to a 20-ball fifty before perishing in his quest for the fifth of that 25-run over.
At 216-1 in the 35th over, Sri Lanka threatened to go beyond 400 but lost eight wickets for 147 runs to fall short of the mark.
Sri Lanka bat first against Scotland
Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews won the toss and decided to bat first in their final World Cup Pool A match against Scotland which also serves as an opportunity for the former champions to assess their strength in depth on Wednesday.
The 1996 winners, already in the quarter-finals, made three changes to their injury-plagued squad, with Kusal Perera, Dushmantha Chameera and Nuwan Kulasekara replacing Dinesh Chandimal, Upul Tharanga and Sachithra Senanayake.
Chandimal was ruled out of the tournament on Tuesday with a hamstring injury.
“The wicket looks really nice and hard. We’d put the runs on the board first,” Mathews said at toss at Bellerive Oval.
“We’ve been playing pretty good cricket for the past four games and we look to continue to do that in today’s game as well.”
Scotland’s limited bowling resources provides a gilt-edged opportunity for Sri Lankan great Kumar Sangakkara to maintain his red-hot form in the tournament.
“He is an unbelievable player, isn’t he? Scored three hundreds in a row and hopefully can get another one today,” Mathews said of Sri Lanka’s batting mainstay.
Scotland skipper Preston Mommsen also confirmed three changes in the squad and said he too would have liked to bat first.
“We’d have batted too, looks a good one day wicket. At the same time, quite a hard ground to defend on. So nothing wrong batting second,” said Preston.
“It’s been an awesome experience, the first four games for us. We played some good cricket, unfortunately, we’ve not been able to get that win.
“Nonetheless, it’s relatively new for us playing on the world stage and the boys are savouring every moment of it.”
Sri Lanka: Lahiru Thirimanne, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Angelo Mathews, Dushmantha Chameera, Kusal Perera, Thisara Perera, Seekkuge Prasanna, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga.