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Gunathilaka, Dickwella thrash Zimbabwe

July 6, 2017 1:26 PM
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Gunathilaka, Dickwella thrash Zimbabwe

A score of over 300 used to be safe in Sri Lanka. Before Friday, chasing sides had attempted to run down scores of over 300 on 32 occasions, and failed every time. Now, in the space of a week, two such scores have been hunted down with ease - Sri Lanka today overhauling Zimbabwe's 310 for 8 with eight wickets in hand and 16 balls remaining, without ever really appearing to extend themselves.

Leading the pursuit today were Niroshan Dickwella and Danushka Gunathilaka - two first-time centurions - who, in a searing opening partnership that yielded 229 runs, left Sri Lanka in such an ascendant state that the remaining 82 runs almost seemed a formality.

Dickwella, forever slinking around his crease, scored well over half his runs behind the wicket, playing sweeps, cuts, dabs and scoops aplenty. Gunathilaka, meanwhile, stood tall in his crease, and played an array of regal drives and disdainful pulls. Having trailed Dickwella for much of the innings, he would finish with 116 runs off 111 balls. Dickwella made 102 off 116 deliveries. Upul Tharanga and Kusal Mendis saw the chase home with little drama - Tharanga making 44 not out, to go with his two unbeaten fifties previously in the series.

That the hosts were chasing so many was thanks to a rollicking fifth ODI century from Hamilton Masakadza, which was followed by a rapid finish from Sikandar Raza and Peter Moor during a Zimbabwe innings in which even Lasith Malinga found himself besieged. Masakadza's 127-run second-wicket stand with Tarisai Musakanda - playing this match in place of Ryan Burl, who was admitted to hospital after aggravating a food allergy - formed the spine of Zimbabwe's innings, with Sean Williams also making a handy contribution.

Zimbabwe's own bowlers would soon themselves falter, thanks to the challenges of playing at this venue. Not only did the pitch offer little for seamers, such turn as it afforded spinners was slow and unthreatening, while Hambantota's lively crosswind complicated their quarry further. It also did not help that Zimbabwe dropped four catches, the costliest of which was the grassing of Dickwella at point, off the bowling of Williams, when the batsman had been on 64.

Neither team's bowlers emerged with much credit. Malcolm Waller was Zimbabwe's best - his tidy offspin accounting for the partnership-breaking wicket of Dickwella. Asela Gunaratne had earlier returned 2 for 53 from 10 overs, which turned out to be the best figures in the game. Malinga's figures were blown out by a 17-run final over, and he ended with 1 for 71 off nine overs. Lakshan Sandakan's 1 for 73 off ten did not make for pretty reading either.

Dickwella and Gunathilaka were immediately belligerent. Dickwella slapped the first ball of the innings - delivered by Carl Mumba - behind point for four, before Gunathilaka cracked two fours apiece off Mumba and Chatara in the second and third overs. It was a track on which very little sideways movement could be gleaned, and the bounce could be completely trusted. After five overs, Sri Lanka were flying, at 36 for none. After 10, with 11 fours between the openers, they were 69 for none. After 15 overs, they were 101… and well… you get the idea - the chase was almost velvet-smooth.

The only major hiccups were in Williams' first over. Dickwella reverse-swept a ball straight to point, who dropped it, before Gunathilaka briefly left his crease only for Peter Moor to fumble the ball and miss a very difficult stumping chance. But neither batsman appeared flustered at any stage. Dickwella got to his hundred in the 33rd over, and Gunathilaka in the 36th. They were out within six balls of each other, but the chase would pass to good hands.

Earlier, Masakadza had also been domineering from the outset, establishing a strike rate of better than 100 in the Powerplay, and maintaining it throughout. Both he and Musakanda appeared at ease during their big second-wicket stand. Sri Lanka's bowlers raised a few lbw appeals, but they largely came against the run of play, rather than as a result of sustained pressure. Musakanda did not advance quite as quickly as Masakadza, but still received enough loose deliveries to stroke into a favoured legside. Masakadza, meanwhile, hit his first fifty off 47 balls, then sped up, needing only 36 further deliveries to move into triple figures.

Wanidu Hasaranga and Gunaratne struck through the middle overs to keep Zimbabwe in check, but they batted deep enough to prosper in the slog overs nonetheless. Raza and Moor hit twenties to plunder 47 off the last four overs, but even a Zimbabwe innings as good as this could not prevent Sri Lanka from taking a 2-1 lead in the series.

Source: espncricinfo.com

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Comments - 36
cricfan1244731839 on

July 6, 2017 4:02 PM

why do certain politicians call to include chandimal in the odi team? do they want sl to lose & then blame the slc?

binukani on

July 6, 2017 4:14 PM

Pl drop Ervine and Moor from the squad.

Kandyhills on

July 6, 2017 1:50 PM

Why are the pitches so flat. 300 is the old 250. Give chance to the bowlers.

Kadmin on

July 6, 2017 1:47 PM

If you haven't followed the whole match and just reading the post match then it looks good on paper but lot of areas to improve. Specially the way openers gave their wickets away and let Zimbabwe sniff a chance. Gladly they didn't hold on to their catches so Upul and Kusal made it through. Once you are in you should never give your wicket away guys. Both openers batted really well, but the way they have given up has to talk through by support staff. Also what about the over rate? when they are going to improve that? I reckon you still got your work cutout, but you are in the right direction. Keep working hard and you will see the light in the end of the tunnel.

SpaceJam97 on

July 6, 2017 1:46 PM

Looks like Zim is gonna give SL a challenging total today!

ZCFOutkast on

July 6, 2017 1:46 PM

Only reason Zimbabwe have been competitive in this Series is because Solomon Mire stepped up big in the first ODI, and now Hamilton Masakadza has delivered in this crucial final game, with Musakanda providing the excellent support Masakadza needed to give this team a chance. The 2nd ODI reflected what truly happens when the strength of the team does no turn up. Good to see Burl was dropped. Why PJ Moor is still there remains a mystery. Craig Ervine must open or be dropped. Elton Chigumbura would have easily turned this into a 360 total for Zimbabwe! Vusi Sibanda is another who is missed dearly here. Without Tinashe Panyangara and his tight spells in the opening overs, Sri Lanka are still favourites.

Batuwantudawe on

July 6, 2017 1:46 PM

sandakan should be persisted with...in fact this entire squad should be persisted with for a couple series. All we need to do is wait for Malinga to retire, get the youngster to be more carful with shot selection and ofc get sandakan to be more consistent

sasa19 on

July 6, 2017 1:45 PM

Am I the only one who missing low scoring thrillers. Not to take anything out of the bats men. But love to see sri Lanka choke the hell out of opposition make them work hard for every single run. Good old days man.

AbaSilva on

July 6, 2017 1:44 PM

Hope Chandi will regain his form in test match and come back one day side strongly...

Alexk400 on

July 6, 2017 1:41 PM

contd. I meant 1994. Brain think something and fingers type wrong. Why zimbabwe keep selecting craig ervine. Zimbabwe raising like fire but he throw water into it. Who ever select him should be fired.

SLMaster on

July 6, 2017 2:00 PM

Good match practice for SL. Hope they keep improving. I think SL now has solid team to go forward. Good to see batting getting better because SL bowling always did better....even in CT.

FedupSL on

July 6, 2017 1:41 PM

It is good to see a fine 200+ 1st wkt stand even on such a deck. Twin debut Tons would boost the confidence of youngsters, but none would become a legend overnight on one inning, as someone ranked. The real challenge for openers is against top-ranked opponents on tougher decks in seam/pace conducive environments. Dickwella had already proved his abilities facing such challenges consistently. That's why he didn't rank this inning as his best. But Dhanushka had never proven that ability with any consistency in his 22 odis (with 9 single digit scores) to date and still far away from proving it.

cricfan4107234486 on

July 6, 2017 1:40 PM

If Zimbabwe can bat like this against Sri Lanka just imagine what will trams like Australia, Pakistan, England and New Zealand will do to them they'll massacre the bowling attack of Sri Lanka

AJ Charles on

July 6, 2017 1:38 PM

what you see here is Sri Lanka bowling what I see in West Indies that Indian strength of batting is collapsing for short ball and no bowlers to get wickets but in Sri Lanka we getting stronger in batting. welcome India we are ready our fast bowlers are taller can bang spot on short balls

CricketChat on

July 6, 2017 1:45 PM

300+ score against an attack that boasts Malinga. No shame in losing a match like this. That's good entertainment for all fans.

Dhawala05 on

July 6, 2017 1:38 PM

SL can win this match easily with the batters they have in this match but i want to see Lakmal or Kulesekara comes in place of Malinga and A Dananjaya comes in place of Sandakan

cricfan11166828 on

July 6, 2017 1:38 PM

best of luck Zimbabwe cricket team

ithris on

July 6, 2017 1:37 PM

Hope hamilton ton....zim must target the middle overs..

seansie78 on

July 6, 2017 1:35 PM

Poor from zim. 300 instead of 350+ Masakanda is one for the future but he needs to learn to read & respect conditions

Malaka on

July 6, 2017 1:33 PM

Without slow chandimal SL can easily chase 300 + scores.. hope selectors will realize that.

KingOwl on

July 6, 2017 2:23 PM

As I said after the second match, this was a good win, but nothing to crow about. SL should beat Zim. If they lose the series from here, it will be an absolute disaster. Even if they lose one more match, that will be pretty bad. They need to win 4-1. 3-2 will be almost a win for Zim. But you have to give credit to Zim. They are much better now, and SL cannot dominate like they used to years ago.

Saifullah Farooqui on

July 6, 2017 1:33 PM

This is what happened when your 4th and 5th bowlers are part timers like Raza and Williams . Zimbabwe have to drop one batsman and bring in a bowler in next game. Even if Zimbabwe score 350, they don't have bowlers to defend that.

Maneesha Gamage on

July 6, 2017 1:33 PM

Lets hope by 2019 , we have a good team like the 1996.

slbrand on

July 6, 2017 3:12 PM

Great to see the batting line up sealing their spots, and let's hope they continue until the end of the IND series (then we'll know for sure). UT is definitely at the right spot to control an innings. We have yet to see Hasaranga bat. Looking at the top teams, almost every team currently have their 1-5 batsmen averaging around 40, especially almost all the players who debuted around the time of Thirimanne and Chandimal. And, Sri Lanka's only started getting there. UT must be an exception since he is from the older generation of players (debuting around 2005-6 like Morgan) who averages in the mid 30s, but he is proving his worth adapting to the demands of the 300+ score modern game. Hope this winning attitude continues towards the end of India series.

cricfan82865468 on

July 6, 2017 1:32 PM

SL batting has settled since CT. UT should always bat at 4. He now realizes he is getting on well with Angi. This 1- 6 looks good as any now. All hv better strike rate than Gura's 60 lol.

SarathMendis on

July 6, 2017 1:31 PM

Malinga is a experience bowler but is present ability to take wickets and keep the run rate low is a question. Most of the time his overs will cost more than 50 runs. He must improve if not SL should look another option.

karnamgiridhar on

July 6, 2017 1:30 PM

SL in some serious problems. chasing anything beyond 320 will be tough ask, though some flukes have happened before, can there be one today? not sure

Tambapani on

July 6, 2017 1:30 PM

With Dickwella, Gunathilake and Tharanga we have 3 lefties who can make batting look so beautiful. All have contrasting styles but yet complement each other with that rare gift of lefties - exquisite cover drives!!

AltafPatel on

July 6, 2017 1:29 PM

"Masakadza ton lifts Zimbabwe to 310". What does that mean ? 4 out of 5 times, when a team scores 300+, there is a century, or even 2 centuries.

cricfan33638999 on

July 6, 2017 1:29 PM

cmon malinga !!! i don't mind if sl cricket include this series in to malinga's ban period..suranga kulasekara and even young kumara are still better than malinga with his level at the moment.

cricfan9033227104 on

July 6, 2017 1:29 PM

sri lankan bowling so poor..it sholud be more improved

Redhill on

July 6, 2017 1:29 PM

Good batting by SL but the bowling and fielding still need work. Gunathilaka was more convincing (until his brain freeze at the end) than Dickwella who keeps trying to get out in the 40's and then again in the 70's... Tharanga has been nothing short of brilliant and Mathews was right to acknowledge the senior player's commitment despite being shuffled around the lineup. As for Zimbabwe, their bowling was a bit sub par today. I thnink Cremer, Chatara and Mumba are world class bowlers but they need to have more self belief. Mazakadza was very good but really should have tried to bat longer. I'm a big fan of the man but he often seems to lack something (perhaps confidence) to really make a huge impact. Still, great to see him find form. Series nicely poised. Onto the next game!

Deepfreezed on

July 6, 2017 2:59 PM

Good win. Either Zim has gotten better or SL is making Zim look better. Few bowlers that bowled well went under used. Time for SL to keep the same team and move on, maybe rotate fast bowlers. Pradeep is getting overused, need him for Test.

Gaurav on

July 6, 2017 1:29 PM

Again more time taken to bowl by SL... One of the most disciplined team of past, not sure what's happened to them

Cricinfouser on

July 6, 2017 1:28 PM

nothing new for the weaker team like zimbabwe and bd. They are very weaker at death. last ten overs they can't accelerate their scoring rate is 7.08 runs per over .

lovemybharath on

July 6, 2017 1:27 PM

Very poor from SL, a bit of brain fade. 47 runs in last 4. Zia did very well to post 310. Against likes of malinga, Pradeep and of course overhyped sandakkan.