Record effort mitigate embarassing series defeat

Published : 10:07 am  July 27, 2015 | No comments so far |  | 


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sud2Champika Fernando reporting from Sooriyawewa
An innings decorated with personal milestones and team records saw Sri Lanka crushing Pakistan by 165 runs to salvage some pride in the fifth and the final ODI played at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium in Sooriyawewa yesterday.
Pakistan chasing a record target of 369 were bowled out for 203 runs but still managed to win the five-match series 3-2, a first in nine years in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka batting first on a wicket that offered very little for the bowlers amassed a ground record of 368 runs for the loss of four wickets,(Previous highest was 339) thanks to a swashbuckling century and three half centuries before a disciplined bowling and fielding effort ensured smooth sailing for the host nation.

Pakistan bowlers had little answers to the marauding Sri Lankan batters who mercilessly took them to the sword in a ruthless batting display that had 32 boundaries and 10 huge hits overs the ropes before the pressure of a mammoth chase crashed them down to their second defeat in the series.

Sri Lanka needed just 37.2 overs to bowl them out with off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake claiming best figures of three for 39 while Thisara Perera picked up two for 38.

Earlier openers TM Dilshan and Kusal Janith Perera played sensibly maintaining a healthy run-rate of over 6 to share a record partnership of 164 (The highest opening stand stood at 139 shared by TM Dilshan and Upul Tharanga) to set the tone for a mammoth Sri Lankan total after skipper Angelo Mathews opted to bat first. Dilshan scored his 45th half century (62) but more importantly crossed the 10000 run ODI runs along the way, a feat only three other Sri Lankans have achieved before.

Only Kumar Sangakkara (14234), Sanath Jayasuriya (13430) and Mahela Jayawardena (12650) have scored more runs than Dilshan (10007). He became only the 11th international cricketer to reach the magical milestone.
However it was Kusal who was the aggressor, cracking four sixes and nine boundaries in his punishing 116 off 109 balls, his second ODI century before being run-out. Kusal also reached 1000 ODI runs (1096).

After TM Dilshan and Kusal Janith Perera annihilation ended and Lahiru Thirimanne and Dinesh Chandimal perished for well made 29 each, skipper Angelo Mathews and Milinda Siriwardena brutalized the Pakistan attack with an unfinished 114 off 55 balls for the fifth wicket to post Sri Lanka’s second highest ODI score at home behind the 398 for 5 against Kenya scored in 1996.
Sri Lanka have lately struggled to find batsmen down the order who could carry on the momentum build by the top order or who could handle the pressure of a top order collapse, but in Milinda Siriwardena Sri Lanka may have found the answer.
The pair collected 114 runs in only 55 balls in a brutal annihilation of the Pakistan attack.

Mathews smashed eight boundaries and two sixes in his 40 ball 70, his 27th ODI half century while Siriwardena hit four boundaries and three massive sixes in his 26 ball 52, the left hander’s maiden half century.

With Sri Lanka’s pride at stake trailing the series 3-1, they made three crucial changes–dropping out-of-form paceman Lasith Malinga and allrounder Sachith Pathirana  and resting injured Nuwan Pradeep and replacing them with Lahiru Gamage, Sachithra Senanayake and Thisara Perera.