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Tharanga century fires Sri Lanka Tharanga century fires Sri Lanka
(about 1 hour later)
Upul Tharanga's second century in as many games put Sri Lanka on course for a big total in their Champions Trophy qualifying game against Zimbabwe. Upul Tharanga's second century in as many games helped Sri Lanka amass 285-7 in their Champions Trophy qualifying game against Zimbabwe in Ahmedabad.
Tharanga, who hit 105 in the win over Bangladesh, made 100 off 120 balls and put on an unbroken 126 with Kumar Sangakkara, who was on 56 off 70 balls. Tharanga, who hit 105 in the win over Bangladesh, made 110 off 130 balls and put on 165 in even time with Kumar Sangakkara, who stroked 80.
That left Sri Lanka on 180-2 after 35 overs against a Zimbabwe side that fielded well but still looked doomed. The duo and Tillakaratne Dilshan fell in quick succession as Zimbabwe's spinners fought back late on.
They were hammered by West Indies on Sunday after being skittled for 85. But they still face a tall order to prevent a second straight heavy defeat.
Things looked promising for them when Anthony Ireland and Tawanda Mupariwa began tidily enough but Tharanga soon slipped into the groove he found on Saturday.
He punished width ruthlessly on the off-side with a succession of cuts and drives, smashing 13 fours and thrashing a good-length Mupariwa delivery over long-off for six as he recorded his fifth ODI century of the year.
Zimbabwe were boosted when Sanath Jayasuriya, backing up, was caught out of his crease by a superb piece of fielding from Elton Chigumbura and skipper Mahela Jayawardene chased a wide one from Ireland.
But Sangakkara, whose fourth run took him up to 5,000 runs in one-day internationals, proved a good foil for his young partner and, after a period of consolidation, they launched an assault.
Tharanga produced a glorious cover drive to bring up the century partnership in 120 balls with and then crashed Tafadzwa Kamungozi down the ground.
Sangakkara lifted the leg-spinner elegantly over mid-wicket to bring up his fifty in 66 balls and skipper Prosper Utseya's ninth over went for 15 as both left-handers pulled for boundaries.
They were starting to look tired, however, and Tharanga missed with an expansive drive off Stuart Matsikenyeri, while Sangakkara mistimed Justice Chibhabha straight to Matsikenyeri at long-off.
Dilshan became the third soft dismissal when he paddled Utseya straight to square-leg and Farveez Maharoof was plumb lbw to Kamungozi, who saw Muttiah Muralitharan hole out to long-off.
In a typically frenzied last 12 overs, 76 runs came at the cost of five wickets - a reward for the Zimbabweans' enthusiastic display in the field, but it was likely to prove in vain.