2nd ODI: Thirimanne ton leads SL to 8-wicket win

Batsman scores unbeaten 102 in series-levelling victory against Australia.

Afp January 13, 2013
Thirimanne’s controlled batting performance in the second ODI against Australia yesterday helped him surpass his previous best score of 77, set against India last August. PHOTO: REUTERS


An unbeaten maiden One-Day International (ODI) century from Lahiru Thirimanne drove Sri Lanka to a series-levelling eight-wicket victory at the Adelaide Oval yesterday.

The opener hit a boundary for the winning runs and remained unbeaten on 102 for his first ODI ton. Tillakaratne Dilshan plundered 51.

The tourists, who suffered a 107-run defeat in Melbourne on Friday in the first of the five-match ODI series, bowled out Australia cheaply for 170 and reached the target with 59 balls to spare.

The man of the match Thirimanne was delighted by his contribution to the tourists’ win.

“It is my maiden hundred, I’m really happy about it,” Thirimanne told The Australian. “Early on we wanted to keep wickets intact. I think Dilshan and I batted well. It was only a low score, so we wanted to bat through the innings.

“I think the team confidence is really high at the moment. After the Melbourne match we spoke about little areas we wanted to improve. It certainly helped as the bowlers did their job, the batters did their job — it was a great team effort.”

Australia had Upal Tharanga caught behind off Clint McKay in the third ball of Sri Lanka’s innings with no runs on the board. The hosts mixed up spin with speed but failed to make another breakthrough until Glen Maxwell caught Dilshan off Ben Cutting with the score already on 137.

Debutant Kushal Perera, who held four catches behind the wickets, clobbered 14 quick runs with Thirimanne in cruise control.

Earlier, Sri Lanka’s seamers led by slinger Lasith Malinga had skittled out Australia setting the stage for an ultimately easy victory.

Mahela Jayawardene won an important toss after heavy rain delayed the start and notched his first triumph on the tour after a 3-0 whitewash in the Tests.

Veteran wicket-keeper Brad Haddin top-scored for Australia with 50 while Malinga claimed three wickets for 32.

Sri Lanka effectively shackled Australia from the outset and picked up regular wickets. Opener Aaron Finch was first to go, caught off Angelo Mathews for just four.

Nuwan Kulasekera then had opening match centurion Phillip Hughes plumb lbw for three and Australia were in trouble on two for 12. Skipper George Bailey struggled to 26 before Thirimanne took a leaping catch off a Malinga delivery. David Hussey looked the man for a tough job, picking up occasional boundaries and putting on 39 with Bailey. But Hussey only got to 29 when he hesitated going for a single and Dilshan knocked off the bails from mid-wicket.

Australia’s inexperienced side needed a big innings from Haddin but he struggled as partners disappeared. Steve Smith played a couple of good shots but went for eight, edging a Thisara Perera leg cutter to the keeper. Maxwell never looked set and nicked a fine ball from Mathews to the wicketkeeper.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 14th, 2013.


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