Sri Lanka thrash England to wrap up one-day series 3-0
COLOMBO, March 27 (AFP) - Romesh Kaluwitharana blasted a superb unbeaten century as Sri Lanka sent England reeling to their
heaviest ever one-day defeat and complete a clean-sweep of the one-day international series 3-0.
Kaluwitharana smashed 102 off 117 balls - including 20 fours - as Sri Lanka romped to a crushing 10-wicket win, the first time in 325
one-dayers England have ever been beaten by such a margin.
England made 165-9 from their alloted 50 overs. Sri Lanka replied with 166 without loss to avenge their 2-1 loss in the Test series.
Sri Lanka, skippered for the first time by Marvan Atapattu, needed just 34 overs to overhaul England's meagre total with Atapattu and
century-maker Romesh Kaluwitharana sharing an unbroken opening partnership of 166.
"Because we lost the Test series, we badly needed to win the one-day series," said Sanath Jayasuriya, the Sri Lankans' regular captain who
was ruled out Tuesday with a knee injury.
Jayasuriya was delighted with the way his team regrouped after losing the often ill-tempered Test series.
England's Graham Thorpe said his players had done well overall, despite the setback in the one-day matches.
"Sri Lanka deserved to win the series," Thorpe said. "It has been a tough series."
Thorpe paid tribute to the 10,000 English fans who have travelled to watch the matches -- a degree of support that Sri Lankan coach Dav
Whatmore compared unfavourably with the poor home support for Jayasuriya's players in the Test series.
Kaluwitharana was in brilliant form hitting the England bowlers to all parts of the field to record his second one-day century. Atapattu said it
was a pleasure to watch Kaluwitharana in full flow.
His century earned him the man-of-the-match award.
England had one opportunity to get his wicket when he hit back a hard return catch while on 71. Bowler Robert Croft got both hands to the
ball but failed to hold on.
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
Atapattu faced 92 balls and hit eight fours for his second fifty of the series. He was made man-of-the-series after notching up scores of 40, 57
and 53 not out.
England 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.
England were drained of runs 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 on to the stumps as they failed to guage the bounce of the pitch.
Left-arm fast bowler Chaminda Vaas did most damage with an accurate and deadly spell that left him with figures of 3-13 off eight overs.
He claimed the scalps of both openers, Marcus Trescothick and Alec Stewart, to put England on the backfoot early in the innings.
Top scorer for England was Graeme Hick with 46 off 114 balls.
Mark Ealham, playing his first match of the series, made 28 useful runs off 40 balls. But England's total was never likely to trouble the Sri
Lankans, even without Jayasuriya.
The Sri Lankan skipper was forced to sit out the match due to a knee injury.