Kusal, Chandimal take Sri Lanka to win

Published : 10:15 am  July 16, 2015 | No comments so far |  | 


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chand2By Champika Fernando reporting from Pallekele
Sri Lanka’s Kusal Janith Perera smashed the joint second-fastest ODI fifty in 17 balls and led Sri Lanka to a hard-fought two-wicket victory in the second ODI played under-lights at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.

Sri Lanka’s misfiring middle-order wobbled yet again but Dinesh Chandimal played sensibly to take Sri Lanka home safely with 11 balls to spare. With three-matches to go, the five-match series is now tied at 1-1. Sri Lanka needed an extraordinary effort after disappointing bowling and sloppy fielding performances helped Pakistan reach a commanding 287 for 8 batting first on a traditionally seam friendly track. And Kusal provided just that with a swashbuckling half-century.

The left-handed opener fired on all cylinders and cracked 11 fours and a six to race to his fifty, the second fastest, equaling Sanath Jayasuriya’s feat sending the vociferous crowd into elation.  

Kusal, who is compared to Jayasuriya, the pinch-hitting Sri Lankan former opener, for his stance, the power and the execution of shots, however fell for his aggression eights balls later when he swat-pulled a short of length delivery from lanky paceman Mohammad Irfan, to be caught by Yasir Shah just metres away from the backward square leg boundary.  

By then he had scored 13 boundaries and two sixes in his brisk 25-ball knock of 68 but more importantly he had laid a solid foundation for Sri Lanka’s win before a middle-order collapse put Sri Lanka’s chase under tremendous pressure.