Jayawardene plays valuable innings for Sri Lanka
Mahela Jayawardene played a patient innings scoring a valuable half century to help Sri Lanka reach 135-6 against New Zealand on a slow turning wicket at the Providence Stadium in Guyana.
After the loss of two earlier wickets Jayawardene and Dinesh Chandimal built a third wicket partnership of 59 to help Sri Lanka recover after Tillakeratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara were dismissed cheaply.
Having won the toss Sri Lanka decided to bat first but it was New Zealand who got off to the better start thanks to their slow bowlers who controlled the game on a slow turning wicket.
The Kiwis opened the bowling with Nathan McCullum, the off-spinner utilised the slow bounce and even slower outfield conceding just 2 runs with Dilshan struggerling to score with the pace taken off the ball.
Dilshan continued to struggle against Shane Bond in the next over, the opener had a disappointing IPL and his poor form continued when he was bowled by Jacob Oram in the 5th over having score 3 runs from 19 balls.
Skipper Sangakkara (4) soon followed after he was bowled by Scott Styris to leave Sri Lanka struggerling on 44-2 after 8.2 overs.
Despite losing two wickets Jayawardene was still at the crease, partnered by Chandimal the former Sri Lanka skipper continued his important contribution completing his third Twenty20 international century in the 13th over.
With Sri Lanka forcing their way back into the game New Zealand made an important breakthrough when Chandimal (29) was caught out on the boundary by Ross Taylor to leave Sri Lanka 103-3.
Jayawardene (81) was joined at the crease by Chamara Kapugedera but his brilliant innings was ended at the start of the 18th over by Tim Southee thanks to a well taken catch by Nathan McCullum at deep mid-wicket.
Bond picked up his first wicket of the innings when he dismissed Kapugedera (11) in the final over as Sri Lanka just lost their way a little on the way to a total of 135.
With Muttiah Muralitharan and Sanath Jayasuriya in the line up Sri Lanka will feel confident of defending such a low total but if Brendon McCullum and Jesse Ryder get off to a good start the Kiwis could make light work of the run chase.