Kumar Sangakkara’s 169 propels Sri Lanka to 320/5 against South Africa in 1st ODI

Kumar Sangakkara posted his highest ODI score of 169 against South Africa in the first ODI © AFP

Jul 20, 2013

Kumar Sangakkara’s magnificent knock of 169 helped Sri Lanka post a challenging total of 320 for five in 50 overs against South Africa in the first One-Day International (ODI) in Colombo.

Sangakkara’s 16th ODI century was filled with 18 fours and six maximums as he took apart South Africa’s bowling attack at the R Premadasa Stadium on Saturday. He shared a 123-run partnership with Lahiru Thirimanne for the fourth wicket, scoring 100 runs himself. Sangakkara began moderately, but scored freely as the innings progressed.

The South African bowlers were unable to counter Sangakkara’s aggressive stroke play and when they finally got his back the damage was already done.

AB de Villiers sent Sri Lanka into bat in the first of the five-match ODI series played in the island nation. Dinesh Chandimal is leading the Sri Lankan side as regular captain Angelo Mathews carries a two-match suspension from the Caribbean tri-series earlier this month.

Tillakaratne Dilshan was back into the Sri Lanka line-up and opened the batting with Upul Tharanga. The start seemed positive as both openers got a few boundaries early on. Chris Morris, who had sent a string of wides in his first over, struck in his second over. Dilshan tried hitting an incoming ball towards square-leg, but missed. The ball brushed the pads and went onto hit the stumps. The hosts were at 23 for one in the fourth over.

Sangakkara joined Tharanga and the duo put together a 70-run partnership for the second wicket. Both the left-handers played some delightful strokes as they built a solid platform for Sri Lanka. Tharanga scored some exquisite fours through the off-side and Sangakkara launched Robin Peterson for a six over long-on.

Although Tharanga got a few boundaries, many of them were edges. But just as he approached his half-century Morne Morkel struck in the 21st over. The right-arm fast bowler, who is leading the attack in Dale Steyn’s absence, got the ball to dart inside from round the wicket. Tharanga got an inside edge and got bowled while trying to guide it towards third-man. He departed for 43 scoring seven fours.

Mahela Jayawardene joined his long-time associate into the middle. The pair stitched together a 74-run stand for the third wicket. The Proteas bowlers targeted Jayawardene with a lot short deliveries, but the classy right-hander played some innovative stroked to get some fours. Sangakkara got his second six as stepped down the wicket and slog-swept an Aaron Phangiso slider over deep mid-wicket.

Just when Sri Lanka seemed to get the run rate up, Morkel struck yet again. Jayawardene (42) finally got done by a short delivery. He played a half-hearted pull straight to Colin Ingram at deep mid-wicket. Sri Lanka were 167 for three in the 34th over.

Sangakkara was joined by Lahiru Thirimanne at the crease. Then began the Sangakkara show. The former Sri Lankan captain showed his experience and class as he targeted the relatively inexperienced South African bowling attack. In the 38th over bowled by Morris, Sangakkara scored 20 runs alone with three fours and one six.

Ryan McLaren also got some punishment from Sangakkara in the very next over. With one four and one six, he got closer to the three-figure mark. He reached his century with a four of JP Duminy in the 41st over. The runs kept flowing and Sangakkara reached his first ODI score of 150. Thirimanne at the other end hardly got strike and as a consequence hardly got many runs.

Thirimanne was dismissed in the 48th over for 17 off 33 deliveries. Sangakkara finally fell in the 49th over. He went for a pull off Phangiso’s bowling, but got caught by Duminy at long-on. His 169 came of 137 deliveries.

This was Sangakkara’s highest individual score and this was also the second-highest score against South Africa in ODIs after Sachin Tendulkar’s 200 not out. It was also the third highest ODI score by an Sri Lankan batsmen after Sanath Jayasuriya’s 189 and Tharanga’s unbeaten 174. Both these came against India.

Thisara Perera added a last-over flourish of 16 runs with two fours and a six off the last ball to boost the Sri Lankan score to 320 for five. Morkel was the pick of the bowlers taking two wickets for 34 runs. Morris was highly expensive giving away 80 runs in nine overs.

Brief scores:

Sri Lanka 320 for 5 in 50 overs (Kumar Sangakkara 169, Upul Tharanga 43, Mahela Jayawardene 42; Morne Morkel 2 for 34) vs South Africa.

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