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England v Sri Lanka, Group A
The Daily News - 14 May 1999

Mullally 'swings out' Lanka cheaply

Sa'adi Thawfeeq

LONDON, Friday - Sri Lanka were undone by the English conditions and the left-arm swing bowling of England's Allan Mullally, who took four wickets for 37 runs off 10 overs, to reduce the world champions to a total of 197 for 9 wickets off 48.1 overs when rain brought a premature end to the innings in the opening match of the seventh World Cup cricket tournament played at Lord's here today.

Overcast conditions and late movement of the ball were not the ideal conditions for batting, even though the sun shone briefly for about ten overs. It was in that period that Sri Lanka had their best batting of the innings when skipper Arjuna Ranatunga and Romesh Kaluwitharana were at the crease.

Following an opening stand of 42 in 11 overs between Sanath Jayasuriya and Roshan Mahanama, Sri Lanka slid to 65 for 5 in the 19th over after England captain Alec Stewart had won the toss and decided to field first.

They were eventually rescued by the out-of-form wicket-keeper Kaluwitharana and Ranatunga who together added 84 for the sixth wicket off 15 overs to give the total some kind of respectability.

Ranatunga made 32 off 42 balls with a straight hit six off Graeme Hick and one four before Nasser Hussain held onto a low catch at cover point off Mark Ealham.

Kaluwitharana batting in brilliant fashion for a man out-of-form struck seven fours in reaching his 13th half-century. He faced 66 balls and his stroke-filled knock was ended by Mullally when he returned for his second spell and had him caught behind by Stewart flashing his bat at an outswinger.

Until, Mullally was brought into the attack, Sri Lanka's batting looked solid despite Darren Gough occasionally beating the bat with some late movement.

Jayasuriya, renowned more for his pinch-hitting tactics adopted a cautious approach and had made 29 off 52 balls with four fours, when he was third out at 63 edging a sharp rising delivery from Mullally to Hick at slips.

The same combination was responsible for Mahanama's exit for 16 when the right-hander top edged a cut and Hick ran around from second slip to complete the catch at short third man.

The most telling blow was struck by Mullally when he removed Aravinda de Silva to a rather tame shot, Graham Thorpe taking the easiest of catches at first slip for nought. Thorpe also held Marvan Atapattu in the same position and Hashan Tillekeratne, promoted in the batting ahead of de Silva, fell to a leg side catch by Stewart.

The Sri Lanka tail wagged to raise the total from 155 for 7 to 197 for 9 when the innings was brought to its premature end. Rain was falling when the two teams went in for lunch.

Opening ceremony

The seventh edition of the World Cup was declared open by British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Billed as the 'Carnival of Cricket' the tournament got off to a rather wet start, when the opening ceremony was marred by rain. Seventy-two children from five schools participated. Each of the 12 participating countries flags (each flag measuring approximately 15 metres long) were unfolded by six children and two adults per flag.

Former Sri Lanka cricketer Keerthi Ranasinghe, who represented his country in one-day internationals carried the Sri Lanka flag onto the ground. Ranasinghe is currently a coach at the Middlesex Academy.

A fireworks display was followed by the unveiling of the flags and the releasing of over one hundreds of balloons representing the colours of the host nation, England red, blue, white.

Source: The Daily News