Colombo, Feb 20: The initial matches of ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 seems to be intended on minnow bashing and after India and New Zealand, it was now Sri Lanka's turn to harass greenhorns in ODI cricket.
How relaxed the islanders were can be gauged from the fact that they left out their pace spearhead Lasith Malinga from their opening match against Canada in Hambantota. Apart from Malinga's exclusion the Sri Lankan side was at full strength.
Kumar Sangakkara called it right at the toss and without a second thought opted to bat first.
The Canadians were impressive from the outset and didn't let the opening duo of Tilakaratne Dilshan and Upul Tharanga blaze through. They persevered with their relentless stump-to-stump attacks and finally snapped Tharanga, who it seemed ran out of patience and opted for a suicidal non-existent single before finding the bails dislodged prior to his return to the batting crease.
Dilshan was never allowed to score rapidly and in the end managed to reach for a painfully slow half century of 58 balls. He was snapped the next ball caught at deep cover as Canada showed that their bowlers were no pushovers.
But all that had to change when Sangakkara was joined by Mahela Jaywardene. The veteran duo, ensured that wickets remained intact and simultaneously they also upped the ante. Jayawardene was the most impressive of the duo as he took the Canadian attack to the cleaners.
Mahela was the more dominant of the duo while Sangakkara appeared more than happy to play second fiddle to his ex-skipper. The Sri Lankan skipper who hasn't scored an ODI century since 2008 Asia Cup, was caught by Davison of his own bowling. He had scored 92 of 87 balls.
Jayawardene though continued to impress and notched up his century of just 80 balls. But soon after that he offered a simple catch to Balaji Rao and eventually departed without any further addition to his personal score.
After that a couple of wickets fell in quick succession. T Perera was run out seven balls later to Jayawardene's dismissal. Kapugedera too joined him in the pavilion after being caught of Baidwan's bowling in the first ball of the next over.
Baidwan impressed again when he accounted for the big-hitting Angelo Mathews after catching him of his own bowling. Mathews managed to score only 21.
Samarweera and Kulasakera ensured that Sri Lanka do not lose any more wickets and in the end they managed to set Canada an imposing target of 333.