Thursday 26 June 2008 

Mendis Helps Sri Lanka Overcome Battling UAE In Lahore

Sri Lanka eventually cruised to a 142-run victory over a plucky United Arab Emirates side in their Asia Cup group match in Lahore.

Posting 290 for nine with Mahela Jayawardene and Mahela Udawatte scoring half-centuries, Sri Lanka then had UAE bowled out for 148, Ajantha Mendis taking five wickets.

Although Sri Lanka quickly lost the wicket of yesterday's centurion Sangakkara, they made a positive start.

Sangakkara was trapped in front by Zahid Shah for a duck but Mahela Udawatte and Mahela Jayawardene took charge, racing on to 76 for one after ten overs.

Jayawardene went on to make his half-century in 39 balls before being run out for 61 by Aman Ali, ending a 114-run stand with Udawatte.

Udawatte soon completed his half-century but lost partners in Chamara Kapugedera (11) and Chamara Silva (six), both falling to catches off of Mohammad Tauqir.

Tauqir then held the catch to dismiss Udawatte for 67 off the bowling of Fahad Alhasmi in the 28th over and Alhasmi also accounted for Tillakaratne Dilshan, Amjad Ali taking the catch to dismiss the all-rounder for 24.

Thushara (ten) was next to go, caught by Amjad Ali off of Zahid Shah as Sri Lanka were in danger of not batting out their overs but a 53-run stand between Weeraratne (40) and Nuwan Kulasekera (38) boosted their score late on.

However, an inexperienced bowling attack struggled in the second innings as United Arab Emirates wicket-keeper Amjad Ali scored a brilliant half-century from 39 balls as his side showed no sign of being in trouble despite the early loss of Arshad Ali, who was run out for six.

Amjad Ali eventually fell for a 77 from 79 deliveries when he was caught by Kaushalya Weeraratne off of Tillakaratne Dilshan, following Indiki Batuwitarachchi (14) back after he was caught by Kumar Sangakkara off of Thilan Thushara.

The same pair then combined to dismiss yesterday's half-centurion Khurram Khan for two and once captain Saqib Ali was trapped in front by Ajantha Mendis for 19, wickets fell quickly as the rest of the UAE batting order was not good enough to deal with Mendis in particular, who finished with exceptional figures of five for 22 while Thushara finished with two for 22.

Sri Lanka and Bangladesh now qualify for the Super Four stage of the competition, joining India and Pakistan.

© Cricket World 2008