Kumar Sangakkara smashed a career-best 169 on Saturday as Sri Lanka thrashed South Africa by 180 runs for its second heaviest defeat in one-day international cricket.
Sangakkara hit six sixes and 18 boundaries in an entertaining 136-ball innings to lift Sri Lanka to a commanding 320-5 in 50 overs. His innings was the third best ODI score by a Sri Lankan after Sanath Jayasuriya’s 189 and Upul Tharanga’s 174 not out.
He also beat his previous best one-day score of 138 not out against India in 2005.
The defeat was South Africa’s second heaviest by runs after losing by 182 to Pakistan. It was also Sri Lanka’s biggest win over South Africa.
Fast bowler Lasith Malinga dealt a blow to South Africa’s daunting run chase with his first ball, bowling opener Colin Ingram with an inswinging yorker for a first-ball duck. The visitors never recovered and lost regular wickets to be dismissed for 140 with 18 overs to spare.
Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath returned the best bowling figures for the hosts with 3-25 while seamer Thisara Perera got 3-31.
Opener Alviro Petersen, who top scored for South Africa with 29, shared a promising 44-run partnership with captain AB de Villiers for the third wicket but Herath struck in his third delivery, bowling de Villiers for 23. The visitors lost their remaining seven wickets for 67 runs.
Earlier, Sri Lanka was sent in to bat by de Villiers and lost opener Tillakaratne Dilshan with the total on 23.
Coming in at No. 3, the left handed Sangakkara took full advantage of some wayward bowling from the visitors for his 16th one-day century.
Sangakkara shared useful partnerships of 70 for the second wicket with Tharanga who made 43, and 74 with Mahela Jayawardene (42).
Sangakkara contributed 100 in a 84-ball stand of 123 with Lahiru Thirimanne (17) for the fourth wicket.
Fast bowler Morne Morkel took 2-34 in 10 overs but others struggled to maintain direction as Sangakkara played aggressively and improvised, using the bowlers’ pace for runs behind the wicket.
Fast bowler Chris Morris went for 80 runs in his nine overs while Ryan McLaren conceded 69 off his 10. Altogether, the South Africans bowled 15 wides.
There are five matches in the series which Sri Lanka leads 1-0.
The second match will be played at the same venue on Tuesday.