Australia will have not forgotten Tillakaratne Dilshan’s maiden Twenty20 ton when they set foot at the Pallekele International Stadium for the second match today as the tourists look to level the series.
The Sri Lanka captain hammered a 57-ball 104 to set up Sri Lanka’s 35-run victory over Australia in the opening match, smashing five sixes and 12 fours in a superb display of hard and clean hitting to help his team post a challenging 198 for three in the day-night match.
Australia were restricted to 163 for eight, with opener David Warner top-scoring with a 31-ball 53 with the help of two sixes and six fours.
The margin and manner of defeat destroyed Australia’s confidence as Sri Lanka virtually wrapped up the match when they reduced the tourists to 63 for four in the opening nine overs. Debutant off-spinner Dilruwan Perera did the maximum damage with three wickets.
Dilshan needed 16 runs to complete his hundred in the last over bowled by paceman Mitchell Johnson, but struck two sixes and as many fours. His second fifty came off just 16 deliveries.
The 34-year-old right-handed batsman and Jeevan Mendis (29 not out off 19 balls) plundered 104 runs in the last 7.3 overs to help their team set a stiff target.
Dilshan was expectedly a happy man. “I’m really satisfied. Earlier on I batted a bit slowly but then played the big shots,” said Dilshan, named man of the match. “It was a good toss to lose.
“Perera did a great job. Mendis came and took a few risks and when runs are coming from both ends, it is very difficult for the bowling side.”
While Dilshan revelled in joy, Australia captain Cameron White had a lot on his mind going into the second and final Twenty20.
“Full credit to Sri Lanka and Dilshan. We were in the game for 13-14 overs, but Dilshan took the game away from us,” said White.
Australia coach Tim Nielsen described the loss as a “frustrating” start to the tour but the tourists will have to pull up their socks if they are to give the in-form Sri Lanka a run for their money.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2011.
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