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Sri Lanka humiliate England in one-day slaughter

COLOMBO, March 27 (AFP) - Sri Lanka wrapped up a one-day series whitewash of England here Tuesday with a humiliating 10-wicket victory over the tourists at the Singhalese SC grounds.

Sri Lanka required just 34 overs to pass England's total of 165 for nine, with Romesh Kaluwitharana and stand-in captain Marvan Atapattu sharing an unbroken opening partnership of 166.

Kaluwitharana was in brilliant form, hitting the England bowlers all around the field to record his second one-day century.

He was unbeaten on 102 off 117 balls with the aid of 20 fours to win the man-of-the-match award.

England had the opportunity to take Kaluwitharana's wicket when he hit back a hard return catch at 71, to which bowler Robert Croft got both hands but failed to hold.

Atapattu gave Kaluwitharana excellent support, bringing up his 31st one-day 50 and Sri Lanka's victory with a lofted drive for four off Mark Ealham.

Atapattu faced 92 balls and hit eight fours for his second half-century of the series. He was made man-of-the-series with scores of 40, 57 and 53 not out.

England, who won the three-Test series 2-1, were completely outplayed in all three one-day matches, losing by five wickets at Dambulla on Friday and by 66 runs at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Sunday.

The tourists were drained of runs Tuesday by another excellent display of sharp fielding and accurate bowling by the Sri Lankans after Atapattu had won the toss in his first match as captain and invited England to bat first.

Four of England's batsmen were dismissed playing onto the stumps as they failed to gauge the bounce of the pitch.

Left-arm fast bowler Chaminda Vaas bowled an accurate and deadly spell to finish with figures of three for 13 off eight overs. He accounted for both openers, out in similar fashion after chopping the ball onto the stumps.

Top scorer for England was Graeme Hick who faced 114 balls to score 46 with two fours.

With Andrew Flintoff who scored 24, Hick added 49 for the fifth wicket off 98 balls which was England's best of the innings.

Mark Ealham, playing his first match of the series, made 28 useful runs off 40 balls hitting a six and a four, but England's total of 165 hardly represented a challenge to the Sri Lankan batting line up, which was minus Sanath Jayasuriya.

The usual Sri Lankan skipper was forced to sit out the match due to a knee injury.

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