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Sri Lanka thrash England to clinch one-day series

COLOMBO, March 25 (AFP) - Mahela Jayawardene hit a stylish century to steer Sri Lanka to a 66-run win over England Sunday in the second one-day international and wrap up the three-match series.

Jayawardene's unbeaten 101 off 115 balls, his fourth one-day century, enabled Sri Lanka to reach 226 for six in their 50 overs after winning the toss and opting to bat first on a slow pitch at the R. Premadasa Stadium.

England, needing to score at the rate of 4.54 runs per over, were never in the hunt after Sri Lanka picked up four early wickets for 88 runs in 27 overs. The tourists were eventually dismissed under lights for 160 in 45 overs.

The victory gives Sri Lanka an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

Sri Lankan skipper Sanath Jayasuriya said he was looking forward to winning the final match on Tuesday to revenge their two-nil defeat in the controversy-marred Test series.

"England did well, our boys did well and I think I am looking at three-nil on Tuesday," Jayasuriya said.

England skipper Graham Thorpe said he felt Sri Lankans were the better team on the day: "We lost to a good side."

Once again it was the Sri Lankan spinners led by off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan who strangled the England batting.

Muralitharan finished with excellent figures of three for 11 off nine overs.

England were also outplayed by some brilliant fielding from the Sri Lankans who prevented them from establishing any substantial partnerships.

Alec Stewart top scored with 55 off 102 balls, but the rest of the batting line up failed to fire.

Jayawardene, who won the man-of-the-match award, completed his century in the final over of the Sri Lankan innings taking eight runs off Craig White.

He scored his last 28 runs off 20 balls with the aid of a runner after suffering from cramp in the 45th over in the hot and humid conditions that affected the tourists as well as the homeside.

Sri Lanka found runs hard to come by after the early loss of Jayasuriya who was bowled off an inside edge to the second ball he faced from Darren Gough for nought.

Marvan Atapattu helped Jayawardene in a second wicket stand of 86 off 127 balls, but the scoring rate never went over four an over.

Atapattu was dismissed for 57 off 91 balls when he was caught at deep backward square leg off Robert Croft. It was his 30th one-day international half century.

Indika de Saram, promoted in the batting ahead of Russel Arnold to bolster the scoring rate, helped Jayawardene add 44 off as many balls for the fifth wicket, before he was dismissed for 14.

Kumar Dharmasena stayed long enough to see Jayawardene to his century adding 52 for the seventh wicket off 40 balls.

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