BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe: Sri Lanka captain Tillekeratne Dilshan led his team to a crushing victory over Zimbabwe at Queens Sports Club on Tuesday in a Tri-nations series that also involves India.
He scored 60 runs in 46 balls, including a six and seven fours, to add to the 61 he took from India on Sunday. It was his 18th half century in internationals.
Supported with a 40 from Upul Tharanga, the only Sri Lankan wicket to fall, the three batsmen necessary coasted to the mere 119 necessary for victory by nine wickets with only 15.2 overs required.
“All our bowlers did their job well and gave us the foundation we needed. We came out today 100 percent and were dominant from the start,” Dilshan said.
Zimbabwe had laboured to 118 all out in their innings, with Hamilton Masakadza scoring a fighting 62 for the home side for whom extras was next with 13. Masakadza’s 10 team-mates mustered just 43 runs between them.
Zimbabwe’s new coach Alan Butcher has much to do in order to repair both batting technique and battered pride.
They had looked so good against India, scoring 289/4 in their six-wicket win on Sunday, and they will be keen to refind that form.
Butcher said: “Frankly today we were rubbish.” Asked what needed to be done he drew laughter by remarking “do better”.
He explained they had been looking to score 160-190 from the 27 overs in the game delayed by rain, but fell a long way short of that.
Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura said with the wicket on the slow side, Sri Lanka’s spinner benefitted fully.
From 83/3 when there was some prospect of a decent total, the home team slumped in disarray to 92/8. One of those to fail was Andy Blignaut, who had waited five years to return to international cricket. He lasted two balls.
Sri Lanka’s man of the match Suraj Randiv took 3-23, Jeevan Mendis 2-12 and Dilhara Fernando 2-24.
All three teams in the series are now level as they move into the second half of the tournament at Harare, beginning with Zimbabwe against India on Thursday. They each have one win and one loss each.