Jayawardene notches his 2nd World Cup century
Mahela Jayawardene smashed an 81-ball century, the fastest by a Sri Lankan in the World Cup, to set up a 210-run victory over Canada on Sunday in Group A
Jayawardene's quickfire knock surpassed the previous Sri Lankan fastest in the competition, 85 balls by Sanath Jayasuriya scored against Bangladesh in 2007 in Port of Spain.
The former Sri Lanka captain helped set up a hefty 332-7 after Sri Lanka won the toss and batted first.
On a slow pitch where stroke making was difficult and an equally slow outfield at a new stadium, Jayawardene adjusted his game beautifully to suit the conditions and complete his second World Cup hundred.
Jayawardene struck nine fours and a six in scoring 100 off 81 balls. He survived two caught behind appeals at 11 and 22 as the referral system did not have the hot spot or the snickometer to guide the third umpire.
Image: Mahela Jayawardene acknowledges the crowd after completing his century against Canada on Sunday
Thousands welcomed the marquee event to Hambantota
Thousands welcomed the World Cup to Hambantota on Sunday. In the land of ancient temples and leopards, even an elephant slowly ambled along to mark the occasion. Fans had bought their tickets well in advance of Sri Lanka's clash with Canada at the 35,000 capacity Mahinda Rajapakse stadium which hosted an international cricket the first time.
The match opened amidst defeaning music, while the official World Cup song was presented in Sinhalese.
The ground, named after the country's president, was built for the World Cup at a cost of around eight million dollars.
Image: Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara (2nd from right), Canada captain Ashish Bagai (left), Stumpy, the event mascot pose with the mascot winner after the toss
Photographs: Getty Images
Sangakkara missed century by eight runs
Sangakkara was unfortunate not to score his maiden World Cup hundred when he was dismissed for 92, hitting back an easy return catch to John Davison. He faced 87 balls and hit seven fours and a six.
The pair came together after Upul Tharanga was run out for 19 when he was sent back by his opening partner Tillakaratne Dilshan.
The run out was set up by Sri Lanka-born Ruvindu Gunasekera who fielded the ball and threw in from mid-off.
Image: Kumar Sangakkara
Dilshan chipped in with useful half-century
Dilshan completed his half-century off 58 balls but was out the next ball he faced, chasing a wide delivery from Davison and holing out to deep cover.
He completed 5,000 runs in ODIs.
Sri Lanka lost some quick wickets after the big partnership but managed to cross the 300-run mark comfortably.
Image: Sri Lanka's Tillakaratne Dilshan (right) celebrates with captain Kumar Sangakkara after scoring a half century against Canada on Sunday
Cheema put up lone fight for Canada
Chasing 333 for an impossible victory, Canada lost wickets steadily although some lusty hitting by Rizwan Cheema (37) including two big sixes helped take them past three figures to their eventual 122 all out.
Sri Lanka's varied bowling attack, even minus fast bowler Lasith Malinga who did not play due to a sore back, then proved too much for Canada.
Image: Rizwan Cheema
Photographs: Getty Images
Perera, Kulasekara destroyed Canada's innings
Thisara Perera, who took Malinga's place in the side, made a memorable World Cup debut with a wicket off his first ball, taking the prize scalp of Canada's most experienced batsman, Davison, for a duck.
Perera ended up with figures of three for 24 while his new ball partner Nuwan Kulasekara had three for 16.
Image: Sri Lanka's Thisara Perera celebrates taking the wicket of Canada's John Davison