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SL snub England bid

Sports Reporter

20 August 1998

A magnificent unbeaten knock of 132 from one-down Marvan Atapattu aided by a superb 68 from opener Romesh Kaluwitherana guided world champions Sri Lanka to a five-wicket win over hosts England in the Emirates Triangular tournament final played at Lord's yesterday.

Chasing a England total of 256 in 50 overs, the islanders in the end reached home easily with 17 balls to spare. Middle order batsman Hashan Tillekaratne hit the wining boundary.

For his five wickets, Muralitharan was adjudged ``man of the match'' by adjucator David Gower.

As if the trophy and the century was not enough, legendary South African batsman Barry Richards adjudged Marvan Atapattu man of the series.

Earlier Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan sent England spinning by taking five wickets as the home side managed 256 for eight.

England openers Nick Knight, who scored 94 in 44 overs, and Mike Atherton (64) gave the innings a promising start with a 132-run record opening stand before Muralitharan took control in a 10-over stint, grabbing 5-34.

Muralitharan triggered another all-too-familiar England collapse, after the home side had been well placed on 191 for two in the 39th over.

Skipper Arjuna Ranatunga made 16 bowling changes among his seven bowlers - five of them spinners - to unsettle the England innings after the 132-run first-wicket stand.

Atherton, playing his first one-day international in 16 months since captaining the side against Australia in 1997, hit 64 off 73 balls with seven fours to dominate the opening stand.

The partnership eclipsed the previous highest - 123 between Graham Gooch and Tim Robinson in Pune, India in 1987-88 - before the spinners tightened the grip on the innings.

While left-hander Knight provided the backbone of the innings, facing 136 balls, the inform Alec Stewart (18) and Graeme Hick (14), did little to bolster the total, falling to Muralitharan in his second and third spells.

Muralitharan's fourth spell was too much for England as he took 3-0 in five balls and the home side had collapsed once again.

He caught and bowled Knight, trapped Nasser Hussain (0) leg-before-wicket two balls later and, in his last over, bowled the big hitting Alistair Brown (18) to finish with his fifth five-wicket haul in his 99th match.

In fact, his was the best bowling record in 23 one-day internationals at Lord's, improving on West Indian great Joel Garner's 5-38 against England in the 1979 World Cup final.

Medium paceman Suresh Perera took two wickets in as many balls in the 50th over of the innings but missed a hattrick, sending down a wide that beat the 'keeper to run for four. He finished with 2-44.

Knight's innings followed his 74 against South Africa in the last qualifying match.

This was the third successive time the England middle order has collapsed this series, following 7-24 in 35 balls against Sri Lanka here and 8-69 against South Africa at Edgbaston.

Source: The Daily Star, Bangladesh
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Date-stamped : 22 Aug1998 - 18:34