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Sanath on top of Guyana's records book

CHAMPION: Sanath Jayasuriya who is batting like a champion, putting to shame many a youngster, created a record when he became the first player to blast a hundred in the new Providence Stadium, in Guyana against the West Indies in the Super 8 match on Sunday.

Jayasuriya who has a knack of setting up batting records, said after the game that the match-winning century was the most memorable of the 25 centuries he has blasted in his career.

He said that he classes this three figure mark as one of the best because it was made under tremendous pressure.

'I always want to perform for my country and give my captain 100 per cent to win', said Jayasuriya who led Sri Lanka in the previous World Cup in South Africa when Sri Lanka entered the semi-finals.

Mahela Jayawardena who is a favourite of the media here, said that the wicket was not easy at the start and he too would have asked the opponents in if he had called correctly.

After losing two early wickets, Jayasuriya and Jaywardena wanted to see through the first 15 overs. Once that hurdle was cleared the wicket eased up and the innings was built. 'Sanath changed the momentum and it was a great knock.

When the Windies batted we did not want to give them room for an explosive start which their openers - Dwaynne Bravo and Chris Gayle are capable of and that we succeeded, helped us to move on with our game plan', said the successful Sri Lanka captain.

Jayawardena said they would not be sitting on these laurels but would be continuing to work hard to improve all areas, as they always do. 'In Antigua everything would be different. It would be a different ground, different wicket and different conditions. We take one game at a time and move on from there' said Jayawardena.

In the meantime with the West Indies chances of making further progress and attempting to be the first host country to win the World Cup fast fading, skipper Brian Lara, who was cleverly stumped by wicket keeper Kumar Sangakkara, acknowledged that his team's performance was very disappointing.

Lara said that they were outclassed by Sri Lanka, but that they would re-group during the next seven days before taking on South Africa in Grenada, two Tuesdays away on April 10.

Lara admitted that the performance was disappointing and the fans who packed the Providence Stadium would also be disappointed. But told them that everything is not lost and asked them to remain upbeat.

But there is no doubt that the West Indies is a team in a crisis, what with skipper Brian Lara and selector, the former West Indian fast bowler Andy Roberts trading words and making allegations.

Jayasuriya has a vast following here in the Caribbean, because his lusty hitting resembles that of the West Indian style of play.

The usually aggressive Jayasuriya was a pedestrian for the first 15 overs which was a revelation. But once he began to unwind, fours and sixes began to cascade from his bat, and the noise the spectators were making urging Jayasuriya on, it looked as though the stadium was packed with Sri Lankans.

Antigua, West Indies, Tuesday


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