DAMBULLA, SRI LANKA // Mahela Jayawardene hit 123 to help Sri Lanka score 289 today a record at the venue to clinch the one-day international (ODI) series against Pakistan. Sri Lanka won the third match in the five-game series by six wickets with 21 balls to spare after Pakistan had scored 288 for eight, the previous highest total at Rangiri Dambulla Stadium. Jayawardene, who asked to move to opener from fourth in the Lankans' batting line-up because Sanath Jayasuriya was ill, smashed 14 boundaries and a six - a slog-sweep off Shahid Afridi over midwicket - in 140 balls.
He is only the third player to score a hundred at Dambulla in 29 games. Jayawardene and Upul Tharanga (76) put on an opening stand of 202, a first-wicket record for ODIs between the countries. Tharanga, who had not scored a half-century in 20 previous innings, hit nine boundaries in 96 deliveries before being trapped lbw by off-spinner Saeed Ajmal in the 34th over. Jayawardene was dismissed in the next over when he tried to hit Abdul Razzaq out over extra cover and was caught by Fawad Alam to make it 210 for two.
Thilan Samaraweera was out two runs and four balls later for a duck, caught and bowled by Ajmal. But captain Kumar Sangakkara hit 37 not out and Thilina Kandamby added 32 in a 56-run stand for the fourth-wicket to steer Sri Lanka to victory. Earlier, Pakistan came up with their best batting display in the series after being sent in, with Umar Akmal top-scoring with 66. Younis Khan made 44 and Kamran Akmal added 45, while Shahid Afridi smashed 32 with some big hitting at the end and was assisted by Abdul Razzaq and Rana Naved, who each scored 30.
Angelo Mathews and Muttiah Muralitharan were the most successful bowlers for Sri Lanka, picking up two wickets each. *AP