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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 October 2006, 16:27 GMT 17:27 UK
Sri Lanka hammer hapless Zimbabwe
Champions Trophy qualifier, Ahmedabad
Sri Lanka 285-7 (50 overs) bt Zimbabwe 141 (42.3 overs) by 144 runs

Kumar Sangakkara congratulates Upul Tharanga on his century
Tharanga and Sangakkara laid the platform for Sri Lanka's total
Sri Lanka all but qualified for the main stage of the Champions Trophy by thrashing Zimbabwe by 144 runs.

Upul Tharanga (110) hit a second ton in as many games and put on 165 with Kumar Sangakkara (80) in Sri Lanka's 285-7.

Lasith Malinga claimed 3-25 and Dilhara Fernando and Muttiah Muralitharan took two wickets as Zimbabwe mustered 141.

Only Brendan Taylor and Hamilton Masakadza (both 30) battled and if West Indies beat Bangladesh on Wednesday, they and Sri Lanka will go through.

The only issue then will be who finishes top of qualifying and goes through to the supposedly weaker group containing New Zealand, Pakistan and South Africa.

Malinga is something special and he's come a long way from where he started

Mahela Jayawardene

In truth, the outcome of this latest game in Ahmedabad was not in doubt once Tharanga fell back into the groove he found in hitting 105 against Bangladesh on Saturday.

He punished width ruthlessly on the off-side with a succession of cuts and drives, smashing 13 fours and a good-length Tawanda Mupariwa delivery over long-off for six to record his fifth ODI century of the year.

Zimbabwe were given hope when Sanath Jayasuriya was caught out by a superb piece of fielding from Elton Chigumbura and skipper Mahela Jayawardene chased a wide delivery from Anthony Ireland.

But Sangakkara, whose fourth run took him up to 5,000 runs in one-day internationals, and Tharanga launched a sustained assault to end any prospect of a shock.

Lasith Malinga celebrates the dismissal of Justice Chibhabha
Malinga helped himself to three wickets as Zimbabwe crumbled

Tharanga produced a glorious cover drive to bring up the century partnership in 120 balls before Sangakkara lifted leg-spinner Tafadzwa Kamungozi elegantly over mid-wicket to bring up his fifty in 66 balls.

Both left-handers eventually tired and it was little surprise when Tharanga missed with an expansive drive off Stuart Matsikenyeri, and Sangakkara mistimed Justice Chibhabha straight to Matsikenyeri at long-off.

The scoring slowed in the last 12 overs as five wickets fell to reward the Zimbabweans' enthusiastic work in the field.

But the Africans repeated the mistakes they made in being skittled for 85 by the Windies, the top order soon back in the pavilion after loose drives.

Piet Rinke inside-edged Perera's inswinger on to his stumps, while Tafadzwa Mufambisi and Justice Chibhabha gave catching practice to the slip fielders.

Taylor produced several delightful cover drives but was comprehensively bowled by a ball that Fernando jagged back, while Masakadza rode his luck before Maharoof's extra bounce surprised him.

Things declined further when Chigumbura failed with a suicidal attempt at a second run and Stuart Matsikenyeri got into a hopeless tangle against a shorter ball from Fernando.

Utseya (20) and Mupariwa clung on to add 12 in 76 balls before Muralitharan's doosra accounted for the skipper and Ireland and the end was, mercifully, not long in coming.

SEE ALSO
Squad lists for Champions Trophy
05 Oct 06 |  Cricket
Champions Trophy ground guides
04 Oct 06 |  Cricket
Champions Trophy team guide
05 Oct 06 |  Cricket
ICC Champions Trophy 2006
08 Oct 06 |  Future tour dates


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