Tharanga hits ton as SL take lead

Colombo, Sri Lanka – Sri Lanka opener Upul Tharanga hit a superb, unbeaten century as the home side outplayed West Indies to win the 2nd ERI One-Day International by eight wickets at Sinhalese Sports Club on Thursday.

The slim left-hander controlled the innings and ended with 101 not out off 143 balls as Sri Lanka made 199/2 off 42.3 overs to win under the Duckworth/Lewis Method with 27 balls to spare. They were replying to a target of 196 off 47 overs after rain midway in the innings cause the revised target. Earlier in the day the Windies were bowled out for 203 off the final ball of the 50th over.

It was the ninth One-Day century for Tharanga, who celebrated his 26th birthday on Wednesday. He earned Man-of-the-Match award as his side took a 1-0 lead in the series. After a slow start, Tharanga blossomed and hit seven boundaries. He shared partnerships of 70 with captain Kumar Sangakkara (20) and an unbroken 97 with Mahela Jayawardena, who made 48 not out, off just 46 balls with five boundaries.

Earlier in the day, the West Indies batsmen struggled against some good bowling. The best batting in the innings came from the Bravo brothers. They both made 39 in a fourth-wicket stand of 39. Dwayne Bravo faced 55 balls and hit two boundaries on his return to the team from injury, while the left-handed Darren Bravo hit three magnificent straight sixes off 64 balls. Chris Gayle (28) gave the innings an enterprising start by cracking a six and four fours; while at the 'death' Carlton Baugh worked hard for his 28 not out off 38 balls.

Pacer Lasith Malinga was the best bowler with 3-30 off his 10 overs, while legendary off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan had 2-42. Nuwan Kulasekara (2-42) ended the innings by bowling Kemar Roach to get the 100th wicket of his ODI career.
The third and final match ODI will be at the SSC on Sunday. The first match was rain-affected and ended in a no result.

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