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Tharanga hits 120 before England bowlers fight back

Written by: Staff
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LONDON, June 17 (Reuters) Opener Upul Tharanga scored his third and highest one-day international century to propel Sri Lanka to 257 for nine against England at Lord's.

England, who won the toss in sunny conditions, staged a good comeback after Sri Lanka reached 102 for one off 16 overs in the first match of a five-game series.

Tharanga, 21, scored 120 and was the only batsman to play with authority, plundering 14 boundaries.

England, being captained by Andrew Strauss, failed to capitalise initially with their bowlers sending down 10 wides from the first five overs.

There were 42 extras in total, which exceeded their previous extras record of 41, also committed against Sri Lanka, in Delhi in 1989. Wides totalled 23.

England's indiscipline may have stemmed from inexperience because they were without several bowlers because of injury such as Andrew Flintoff, Simon Jones, Ashley Giles, James Anderson and Ian Blackwell.

Steve Harmison, England's paceman now recovered from the shin injury that kept him out of the drawn Test series, struck first, having Sanath Jayasuriya caught behind for 11.

Despite a 99-run stand between Tharanga and Mahela Jayawardene (24), Sri Lanka rarely dominated England's makeshift team.

Tharanga struck Sajid Mahmood for consecutive fours in his first over, the 11th of the innings. Harmison also suffered at the hands of Tharanga, being clipped for a four and then cut for another boundary in his sixth over.

Tharanga was given a reprieve on 59 when he was beaten by a ball by off-spinner Jamie Dalrymple and Geraint Jones fumbled the stumping opportunity.

Tharanga reached his century from 128 balls with a late cut to third man for a single from Collingwood. He was out when he top-edged Sajid Mahmood to square leg.

Dalrymple and medium-pacer Paul Collingwood turned the innings in England's favour by taking the pace off the ball. Collingwood finished with two for 29 from 10 overs while Harmison took three for 52.

REUTERS PDS PC1958

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