Sri Lanka back on track after routing New Zealand
by AFP

Ground:Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai
Scorecard:New Zealand v Sri Lanka
Player:TM Dilshan, ST Jayasuriya, SL Malinga, WPUJC Vaas, M Muralitharan, DL Vettori, NJ Astle, WU Tharanga, DPMD Jayawardene
Event:ICC Champions Trophy 2006/07

DateLine: 20th October 2006


Prolific off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan ripped through New Zealand's batting to resurrect Sri Lanka's Champions Trophy campaign with a seven-wicket win here on Friday.


Sri Lanka, who would have been knocked out of the eight-nation tournament had they lost, shot out the Black Caps for 165 and then surpassed the modest total in the 36th over of the day-night international.


Muralitharan revelled on a turning track to take 4-23, before young opener Upul Tharanga (56) and captain Mahela Jayawardene (48) put on 89 for the second wicket to build on the advantage.


Both batsmen fell in four deliveries from spinner Jeetan Patel, but Kumar Sangakkara and former skipper Marvan Atapattu guided Sri Lanka to an impressive victory.


Sri Lanka, who had lost to Pakistan on Tuesday, recovered in time to keep the chase alive for the two semi-final berths from group B.


Both Sri Lanka and New Zealand have one win each from two matches. Pakistan have played one game while South Africa lost their opening match to New Zealand.


World champions Australia, West Indies, England and hosts India are in group A.


The Brabourne stadium wicket continued to assist turn despite the International Cricket Council's pitch consultant Andy Atkinson spraying it with a glue, Polyvinvl Acetate, before the start to help bind it for 100 overs.


The pitch, that turned from brown to white after the spray, had been criticised over the last week for breaking up in the second innings, causing a string of low scores.


New Zealand, however, had only themselves to blame for the sluggish display that saw the first nine wickets fall in quick time.


Nathan Astle made 42 and Daniel Vettori hit an unbeaten 46, but the rest of the batting struggled to come to terms with the turning ball after electing to bat.


New Zealand were reduced to 118-9 in the 39th over before the last-wicket pair of Vettori and Jeetan Patel (10) added 47 runs.


Left-handed Vettori boosted the total with three consecutive boundaries off Chaminda Vaas in the 49th over which cost 19 runs.


Sri Lanka also conceded 10 wides and seven no-balls in the innings with the seasoned Vaas being the worst offender with four wides and six no-balls.


Stephen Fleming, who made a match-winning 89 against South Africa, failed to score in his 193rd one-dayer as captain, equalling the world record tally of former Sri Lanka skipper Arjuna Ranatunga.


New Zealand fast bowler Shane Bond, returning after missing the previous game with a stiff back, was hammered for 36 runs in his first four overs when Sri Lanka began their reply.


Veteran Sanath Jayasuriya, who struck Bond for a six over cover, made 20 when he was unlucky to be given out caught behind off Kyle Mills as television replays showed the ball had gone off the pad.


Sri Lanka take on South Africa in their last league match in Ahmedabad on Tuesday. New Zealand clash with Pakistan a day later in Mohali.

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)