Openers Niroshan Dickwella and Dhanushka Gunathilaka struck centuries in a record 229-run partnership as Sri Lanka mounted the massive 311- victory target by 8 wickets in 47.2 overs in in the third ODI at Suriyawewa yesterday. It was the perfect scripting upfront that Sri Lanka required as Dickwella 102 of 114 balls inclusive of 14 boundaries and Gunathilaka 116 from 111 containing 15 boundaries and a six proved be the cementing answer to Sri Lanka’s long search for a durable young cast to slot in for the job for the future. Dhanushka Gunathilaka. Indeed, the due answered the clarion call for the new brigade to step in and take charge displaying tremendous temperament and determination in that commitment to passing many bridges in the mountainous task of going past Zimbabwe for Sri Lanka to take a 2-1 lead in the 5-match series. It was an effective superb comeback from behind by Sri Lanka having trailed Zimbabwe 0-1 at the outset.
After the early rollicking spade work by the duo that had progressively sapped out Zimbabwe in an alliance of significantly calculated run making coupled with aggression, Kusal Mendis and Upul Tharanga, in his second slotting at No.4, did the rest in an unbroken 82-run third wicket alliance. Both Dickwella and Gunathilaka having departed in the space of 8 runs, Mendis played a subdued knock of 28 off 25 balls with two boundaries while Tharanga went on the offensive striking 44 off 32 inclusive of 3 fours and 2 sixes with Sri Lanka maintaining a run rate of 6.59 to finish it off in style.
It was ideally the perfect blending by Sri Lanka in answering vociferous critics in a team building process that has begun to flower. Notably both Man of the Match Gunathilaka and Dickwella have been finds from the fine-combing mission by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) in beginning to gel with progressive exposure.
Zimbabwe’s 310 was on the back of a century by opening batsman Masakadza on a day the Sri Lankan bowlers toiled.
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-