Sri Lanka reach 290-9 despite disciplined UAE bowling

LAHORE, June 26, 2008 (AFP) – Mahela Udawatte and Mahela Jayawardene scored half-centuries for Sri Lanka as they posted 290-9 against a disciplined United Arab Emirates in the Asia Cup here Thursday.

The two top from each group will qualify for the Super League stages where each team plays three matches to decide the July 6 finalists. Udawatte hit 67 while skipper Jayawardene made 61 during their 114-run second-wicket stand after Sri Lanka won the toss and decided to bat on a flat and dry Gaddafi Stadium in the Group A encounter.

But once the duo left, the UAE bowlers took four wickets in the space of 75 runs before Kaushalya Weeraratne (40) and Nuwan Kulasekara (38) added 53 invaluable runs for the eighth wicket to give impetus to the innings.

Sri Lanka got off to a disastrous start when they lost opener Kumar Sangakkara, trapped leg-before by paceman Zahid Shah off the last ball of the first over.

Sangakkara scored 101 in Sri Lanka’s emphatic 131-run win over Bangladesh — the other team in Group A — on Wednesday but there was to be no repeat here.

Jayawardene and Udawatte steadied the innings as UAE bowlers unleashed tight line and length. Udawatte hit six boundaries durin