De Silva shows the way with 91

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Sri Lanka 228-6 Zimbabwe 229-4 (Sri Lanka win by 6 wickets)

A record-breaking third-wicket stand of 172 between Aravinda de Silva and Asanka Gurusinha helped Sri Lanka crush Zimbabwe in their World Cup Group A match in Colombo yesterday.

Replying to Zimbabwe's 228 for 6 in 50 overs, Sri Lanka scored 229 for 4 in just 37 overs. Gurusinha (87) and De Silva (91) beat the previous Sri Lankan World Cup best for the third wicket of 88, set by Roy Dias and Gurusinha in 1987-88 against England at Puna. De Silva, the man of the match, made the highest Sri Lankan World Cup score, eclipsing Roshan Mahanama's 89 against Pakistan in 1987-88.

They came together with the Sri Lankan innings in tatters after the loss of both openers for just 23 in 4.1 overs. Gurusinha struck six huge sixes and five fours from exactly 100 balls; De Silva registered two sixes and 10 fours in his 86 balls.

The Zimbabwe captain, Andy Flower, used seven bowlers in a vain attempt to break the stand, but it was only through a run-out that the partnership was finally ended. Heath Streak, the pace bowler who made the initial breakthrough for Zimbabwe by dismissing both openers, ended with 3 for 60 off his 10 overs.

Sri Lanka had a bad start when they lost their dashing opener, Romesh Kaluwitharana, for a duck to the third ball of the innings after he had failed to control a pull off Streak and lofted a catch to Stephen Peall at long-on.

Worse was to follow when fellow opener Sanath Jayasuriya was bowled by Streak for six, leaving Sri Lanka 23 for 2. This brought the experienced duo of Gurusinha and De Silva together to entertain the capacity crowd of 20,000 with their exciting batting.

Muttiah Muralitharan returned to the Sri Lankan line-up after he was sidelined on the recent tour to Australia when doubts arose about the legitimacy of his off-spin action. He took 1 for 37 in his 10 overs.

Colombo scoreboard

(Zimbabwe won toss)

ZIMBABWE

*A Flower run out 8

G W Flower run out 15

G J Whittall c Jayasuriya b Muralitharan 35

A D R Campbell c Muralitharan b Vaas 75

A C Waller b Jayasuriya 19

C N Evans not out 39

H H Streak c de Silva b Vaas 15

P A Strang not out 0

Extras (b1, lb16, w4, nb1) 22

Total (for 6, 50 overs) 228

Fall: 1-19, 2-51, 3-92, 4-160, 5-194, 6-227.

Did not bat: E A Brandes, A P C Lock, S G Peall.

Bowling: Vaas 10-0-30-2; Wickremasinghe 8-0-36-0; Ranatunga 2-0-14-0; Muralitharan 10-0-37-1; Dharmasena 10-0-50-0; Jayasuriya 10-0-44-1.

SRI LANKA

S T Jayasuriya b Streak 6

R S Kaluwitharana c Peall b Streak 0

A P Gurusinha run out 87

P A de Silva lbw b Streak 91

*A Ranatunga not out 13

H P Tillekeratne not out 7

Extras (lb5, w17, nb3) 25

Total (for 4, 37 overs) 229

Fall: 1-5, 2-23, 3-195, 4-209.

Did not bat: R S Mahanama, W P U C J Vaas, H D B K Dharmasena, G P Wickremasinghe, M Muralitharan.

Bowling: Streak 10-0-60-3; Lock 4-0-17-0; Peall 3-0-23-0; Brandes 8-0- 35-0; Strang 5-0-43-0; Whittall 2-0-20-0; G W Flower 5-1-26-0.

Umpires: Mahboob Shah (Pak), S G Dunne (NZ).

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