Bloemfontein (South Africa): Sri Lanka's captain Sanath Jayasuriya hit 120 off 125 balls as his team piled up 272 for seven from 50 overs after being sent to bat by New Zealand on Monday. The dashing left-hander's 16th One-day century came after English umpire Neil Mallender turned down a confident appeal for a catch at the wicket early in the innings. Television replays showed the delivery from Shane Bond had taken the edge of the bat before carrying to wicket-keeper Lou Vincent.
By the time Mallender ruled Jayasuriya leg before to Nathan Astle in the 35th over, the Sri Lankan had taken 15 fours off the frustrated Kiwis to lift the score to 193 for 2. Hashan Tillekeratne, a more subdued left-hander than his captain, put on a record 170 for the second wicket with Jayasuriya after Marvan Atapattu had departed for six. The partnership was Sri Lanka's highest for the second wicket in the World Cup.
Batting with a runner in the later part of his innings due to cramps, Tillekeratne returned unbeaten on 81. New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming opted to field first after winning the toss to take advantage of the early life in the wicket at Goodyear Park. The move appeared justified when Atapattu was removed by Bond in the sixth over to a catch at square-leg and Jayasuriya struggled to put bat to ball.
But as the wicket dried out, Jayasuriya launched a breathtaking assault on the bowlers. Astle, the seventh bowler to be deployed by Fleming to stem the run flow, picked up Jayasuriya in his first over and added two more wickets to finish with three for 34 from seven overs. Sri Lanka lost three wickets for 20 runs soon after Jayasuriya's departure, but Tillekeratne held the innings together to set New Zealand a victory target of 5.5 runs an over.