Kingston, Jamaica: Sri Lanka thrashed India by 161 runs in their Celkon Mobile Cup one-day international on Tuesday, as Upul Tharanga smashed an unbeaten 174 off 159 balls and shared a huge opening stand with Mahela Jayawardene.
Tharanga blasted 19 fours and three sixes and scored at better than a run-a-ball in a career-best performance that spurred Sri Lanka to a formidable 348 for 1 off their 50 overs at Sabina Park.
The openers put on 213 runs for the first wicket, with veteran Jayawardene making 107, striking nine fours and two sixes off 112 balls. The giant opening stand came after Sri Lanka was sent in to bat by stand-in India captain Virat Kohli, who replaced the injured MS Dhoni.
India faltered badly in pursuit to be bowled out for 187 off 44.5 overs. Allrounder Ravindra Jadeja top-scored for India with 49 not out but Sri Lanka spinners Rangana Herath (3 for 37) and Sachithra Senanayake (2 for 46) kept a tight grip on the India, the recent ICC Champions Trophy winners. Fast bowler Lasith Malinga also grabbed 2 for 40.
Tharanga became the ninth Sri Lankan to pass 5,000 runs in one-dayers when he reached 21. Sri Lanka's opening pair was restrained in adding 47 in the first ten overs, benefiting from some scrappy India fielding. Murali Vijay grassed a chance from Jayawardene when he was on 25 in the 13th over.
Jayawardene made the Indians pay dearly and got to three figures before Tharanga. It was the 16th one-day century for the 36-year-old former skipper. He fell soon afterwards to the same reverse sweep that should have caused his downfall earlier. This time the chance was snapped up by Umesh Yadav off Ravichandran Ashwin.
But his dismissal only spurred the flow of runs as Tharanga and Angelo Mathews shared a rapid, unbeaten stand of 133 off just 68 balls.
Tharanga, dropped on 91 at deep point by Yadav off Ishant Sharma, reached his 13th one-day century off 124 balls and blasted 74 runs off his next 35 balls to further deflate the Indians.
Sri Lanka skipper Mathews contributed an efficient, undefeated 44 off 39 balls with four fours and one six. India, needing to score at a run rate of close to seven per over, never managed to create any momentum in their chase.
Seamer Nuwan Kulasekara made an early breakthrough when Rohit Sharma (5) drove straight to short mid-on at 12 for 1. Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay tried to repair the damage but their second wicket stand of 40 occupied ten overs and the required run rate quickly escalated.
Dhawan compiled a conservative 24 before he holed out to deep midwicket off Herath as he tried to break the shackles. Sri Lanka skipper Mathews chipped in with the cheap wicket of his opposite number, Kohli (2), who hooked to fine leg where Malinga pouched a good, low catch.
Malinga soon made another impact when he struck in his first over, yorking Vijay (30) at 65 for 4 in the 19th over.
Dinesh Karthik and Suresh Raina shared a fourth wicket stand of 56 but showed little urgency as Sri Lanka tightened their grip. Herath eventually claimed Karthik for 22, beating him in the flight and having him stumped.
Raina, after scoring a run-a-ball 33, was run out going for a third run. By then, the contest was effectively over and even though Jadeja helped himself to some batting practice, India could not even reach their secondary target of 279 to stop Sri Lanka securing a bonus point.
The result leaves India without a point in their first two matches of the series, while West Indies (nine points from two) and Sri Lanka (five points from two) lead the standings heading to Trinidad for the second leg of the tournament.
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