Lanka enter tri-series final with a thumping win

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Mahela Jayawardene (108) and Upul Tharanga (118 not out) cracked sparkling centuries as Sri Lanka crushed Bangladesh by nine wickets.

Updated: January 09, 2010 14:04 IST
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Mahela Jayawardene (108) and Upul Tharanga (118 not out) cracked sparkling centuries as Sri Lanka crushed Bangladesh by nine wickets to storm into the final of the tri-series here on Friday.

Chasing a modest 250 for a win, Jayawardene and Tharanga tore apart the Bangladesh bowlers to canter to the target with 7.1 overs to spare at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.

Earlier, Bangladesh put up a shoddy batting display coming up with a modest score of 249 for nine with captain Shakib Al hasan top-scoring with 47 after being put into bat in front of 10,000-odd spectators.

Sri Lanka's win not only booked them a berth in the January 13 final they have also almost shut the final match door on the hosts.

If Bangladesh, who have a negative net run rate (-0.626) after losing all three games, are to qualify for the final, they will have to beat India by a huge margin and pray that Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men lose heavily against the islanders on Sunday.

Jayawardene, who hit his 12th ODI hundred, was dismissed in the 38th over when the match was all over in his side's favour at 215 for one. He smashed 13 fours in his 117-ball innings.

Tharanga, who hit his eighth ODI hundred in his 90th match, struck 18 fours in his 126-ball innings.

The left-handed batsman reserved his special treatment for Syed Rasel hitting the pacer for six fours including three from the 23rd over while Jayawardene picked right-arm paceman Rubel Hossain for seven fours.

Captain Kumar Sangakkara remained not out on a 14-ball 17 as Tharanga fittingly hit the winning runs off Tamim Iqbal for Sri Lanka to reach 252 for one in 42.5 overs.

Jayawardene and Tharanga were engaged in a sort of competition in outscoring each other and the hapless host bowlers could not do much as Sri Lankan opening duo stitched together 215 runs in 37.4 overs.

As many as seven bowlers, including four slower ones, were pressed against them but none could make an impact on the Sri Lankan openers who drove, cut, pulled and picked the gaps for ones and twos without giving much chance to their opponents on a batting pitch.

The Bangladeshi bowlers also erred in line and length against the left-right combination and their woes were compounded by the dew which did not allow the bowlers grip the ball.

Naeem Islam got the lone wicket of Jayawardene but conceded 35 from his five overs while Rubel Hossain was the most expensive by leaking 59 runs from his eight overs.

Earlier, under pressure to post a big total to cancel out the dew factor, the Bangladesh batsmen stuttered with wickets failing at regular intervals and their cause was not helped either by some irresponsible batting.

None of their top-order batsmen scored big and except for the fourth wicket stand of 78 runs from 114 balls between captain Shakib Al Hasan (47) and Raqibul Hasan (43) there was no worthwhile partnership after openers Tamim Iqbal (21) and Imrul Kayes (42) had raised 44 for the first wicket.

Shakib, who came in when his side was struggling at 88 for three, top-scored with a 75-ball knock which included just one four and he was out while trying to hoist a short ball from well outside the off-stump.

After Shakib's departure in the 38th over at 165 for four, host batsmen fell in a heap, with Mushfiqur Rahim (32), Naeem Islam (5), Abdur Razzak (1) and Rubel Hossain (0) out in the space of four overs with addition of just 32 runs.

At the start, openers Iqbal and Imrul failed to give a strong start unlike against India on Thursday. Bangladesh needed one of them to fire upfront to put pressure on the Sri Lankans but that did not happen.

Iqbal lifted Thilan Thushara for a four and a huge six in the fourth over but did not last long as he misread a Suraj Randiv delivery and was trapped in front.

The home side invited trouble with the next two batsmen gifting wickets. Former captain Mohammad Ashraful (13) ran for an unnecessary second run and failed to beat a nimble-footed Thilan Thushara whose sharp throw hit the stumps in the 14th over.

Four overs later, Imrul played across a Thissara Perera delivery and he was beaten in front of wicket to leave Bangladesh in trouble at 88 for three.

Vice-captain Mashfiqur gave the sparse crowd something to cheer with a couple of sixes in the slog overs but it was too good to last as he was out for 32 from 22 balls.

For Sri Lanka, Nuwan Kulasekara, who returned to the playing XI after missing his side's second match, Thissara Perera and Suraj Randiv took two wickets apiece.

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