| Kumar Sangakkara en route to his unbeaten 103 against Kenya in Sharjah Sunday. (AFP)
Sharjah: Kumara Sangakkara’s second century on the trot powered Sri Lanka to a crushing 129-run victory over Kenya in the four-nation Sharjah Cup here Sunday.
Sangakkara, who had struck 100 not out in Sri Lanka’s loss against Pakistan on Friday, remained unbeaten on 103 that propelled his team to 256 for five after skipper Sanath Jayasuriya had elected to bat.
In reply, the Kenyan innings folded for just 127 runs in 37.5 overs with former captain Maurice Odumbe top-scoring with 42. Sri Lanka moved into second place in the standings behind Pakistan and they will meet them in the final if they can beat Zimbabwe on Monday.
Jayasuriya said: “Kenya beat us in the World Cup and we are very happy to have defeated them here.”
Kenya’s top order failed miserably and were reeling at 35 for four in the 11th over before Odumbe took charge of the proceedings. He got good support from Thomas Odoyo, who made 21, but their partnership did not last very long.
Odoyo was out at the total of 97 and once Jayasuriya — who earlier in the day became only the fourth batsman to complete 9,000 runs in one-day Internationals — dismissed Odumbe in the 33rd over, the Kenyan resistance ended with Muttiah Muralidharan cleaning up the rest of the batting order.
Muralidharan was the most successful of the Sri Lankan bowlers, claiming three wickets from his 6.5 overs, while Jayasuriya and Prabath Nissanka chipped in with two wickets each.
Earlier, Sangakkara hit his second century on the trot as Sri Lanka scored an imposing 256 for five.
Some undistinguished batting in the initial overs saw the Sri Lankans reach 104 for three at the halfway stage before some brisk scoring by Sangakkara and Hashan Tillekeratne (43) took the 1996 World Cup champions past the 250-mark. The two added 93 for the fourth wicket.
The Lankan struck nine fours in his 108-ball knock, while veteran Tillekeratne faced 56 balls and hit two fours.
Jayasuriya became the second Sri Lankan and fourth in the world to complete 9,000 runs in ODIs. The lefthander, playing his 299th match, achieved the milestone when he reached seven during his knock of 36. Sachin Tendulkar, Mohammed Azharuddin and Aravinda de Silva are the other batsmen to have crossed the mark.
Jayasuriya and Avishka Gunawardene, who opened the innings in place of Maravan Atapattu, gave Sri Lanka a solid start by contributing 53 before the two fell in the space of 14 balls.
Jayasuriya fell leg before to a Tony Suji delivery that pitched outside the leg stump, as repeated TV plays showed, but umpire A.V. Jayaprakash had no hesitation in raising his finger. Gunawardene (24) then nicked to wicketkeeper Kennedy Obuya.
Kenya threatened to wrest the initiative when Collins Obuya got rid of Atapattu for 19, but Sangakkara dug in with Hashan Tillekaratne (43) to share a 93-run stand.
Sangakkara, who exchanged heated words with Kennedy Obuya when his appeal for caught behind was turned down by umpire Jayaprakash, completed his century from the last ball of the innings.
Kumara Dharmasena scored a 11-ball 16 while debutant Kaushal Lokuarachchi made eight.
Leg-spinner Obuya, who often troubled the Lankan batsmen, was the most impressive of the bowlers with two for 38.