Sri Lanka lose to Kiwis despite Tharanga ton

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, March 9, 2007 (AFP) – Upul Tharanga hit a majestic century but couldn’t stop Sri Lanka from slipping to an 18-run defeat against New Zealand in their final World Cup warm-up on Friday.
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Chasing a victory target of 286, Tharanga hit 10 fours and two sixes in his 106 off 112 balls.

New Zealand desperately needed victory after suffering an embarrassing two-wicket defeat to Bangladesh on Tuesday but they were a far more formidable outfit against Sri Lanka.

Lou Vincent (70) and skipper Stephen Fleming (65) shared an opening stand of 131 in 24 overs for New Zealand, with Peter Fulton adding 58.

The Black Caps were able to consolidate the start given them by their openers with the later batsmen adding 78 off the final 10 overs.

Sanath Jayasuriya and Chaminda Vaas were rested by Sri Lanka while off-spinner Daniel Vettori was kept on the sidelines by New Zealand.

Most worrying for Sri Lanka was the poor form of master spinner Muttiah Muralitharan who conceded 64 runs off his 10 overs for the return of just one wicket. That was Ross Taylor who was out for 30.

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