Sangakkara pleased with start
Sri Lanka opened their World Cup campaign with a 210-run win over Canada, much to the delight of captain Kumar Sangakkara.
Last Updated: 20/02/11 7:15pm
Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara hailed batsman Mahela Jayawardene as the "real star" of his side's 210-run victory against Canada in their World Cup opener at Hambantota.
The co-hosts put themselves in charge from the beginning as Jayawardene's century off just 81 balls laid the foundation - after opener Tillakaratne Dilshan's 50 - which was backed up by a 179-run third-wicket stand he shared with Sangakkara (92).
The 333-run target was always likely to prove too tough for minnows Canada and so it proved as their top half crumbled for 53 - with Thisara Perera and Nuwan Kulasekara grabbing three wickets apiece - and they eventually ended with just 122 on the board.
Wicketkeeper Sangakkara himself finished with three catches and a stumping to complete a superb individual performance, but the skipper believed it was the batting that paved the way for the seventh largest World Cup win.
"It was all set up by the openers," Sangakkara said. "They batted very well and gave us a solid start. Dilshan got a half-century but unfortunately couldn't kick on.
"But the real star was Mahela Jayawardene; it was very easy to bat with him. Once we got that foundation and that solidity, we were able to launch and go beyond 300.
"Wickets like this when you haven't played before, it's nice to get an idea of what's going on. To see what areas you can score and what bowlers you can score off.
"So I took a bit of time with my innings and then Mahela came in and brought the momentum back."
Sri Lanka were without Lasith Malinga due to a back strain but Jayawardene expects the paceman to be fit for their next game, against Pakistan in Colombo on February 26.
"We didn't want to risk him," said Jayawardene. "He bowled yesterday and he was okay but given the fact that we have got couple of crucial games coming up, we thought that he should get a break. I think he should be okay for the
Canada, on the other hand, were in no doubt as to the enormity of the challenge even before a ball had been bowled, but skipper Ashish Bagai was happy to be taking a few positives, while acknowledging the impact that Jayawardene and Sangakkara had on the game.
"It was always going to be a tough task," Bagai said. "But I thought we bowled well in the first 26 overs where we managed to keep them under five runs an over.
"And then two world class players took the game away from us. So 333 was always going to be a tough ask."