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Hasaranga hat-trick, Sandakan four; Zimbabwe 155

July 2nd, 2017 | by admin
Hasaranga hat-trick, Sandakan four; Zimbabwe 155
Sri Lanka
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Sri Lanka 158 for 3 (Tharanga 75*, Dickwella 35, Chatara 2-33) beat Zimbabwe 155 (Masakadza 41,Waller 38, Sandakan 4-52, Hasaranga 3-15) by seven wickets

Two days after Sri Lanka’s slow bowlers were crashed around at Galle, two fresh spinners trussed up Zimbabwe’s middle order, before Sri Lanka’s batsmen completed a largely unflustered chase of 156. The heft of this seven-wicket victory – achieved with 19.5 overs remaining in the innings – will put some confidence back to into the Sri Lanka side, following their shock defeat on Friday.

Nineteen-year-old legspinner Wanidu Hasaranga made the most dramatic contribution, becoming the third debutant in ODI history to claim a hat-trick, when he wiped out Zimbabwe’s tail with the 14th, 15th and 16th deliveries of his international career. But by that stage, Sri Lanka were already in command, thanks largely to Lakshan Sandakan, who was sidelined for long periods by the selectors but was deadly upon his return here.

Zimbabwe’s batsmen tried to sweep him hard, and often, as they had done to Amila Aponso and Akila Dananjaya in the last match, but Sandakan, wise to this plan, switched up his lines when he saw a premeditated shot coming. And in any case, he enacted so many revolutions on the ball that his dip and bounce prompted fatal mistakes. He had Craig Ervine caught behind, before Sikandar Raza top-edged a reverse sweep, and Ryan Burl was bowled attempting one. Peter Moor then edged the ball back onto his stumps, and Sandakan claimed a final analysis of 4 for 52. To Angelo Mathews’ credit, he allowed Sandakan to bowl out early in the game despite a shaky economy rate. All ten of his overs were delivered between the 10th and 31st of the innings.

Hasaranga, meanwhile, was required to deliver only 2.4 overs, but was nerveless in that spell, persisting with an aggressive length even when batsmen had hit boundaries off him. In fact, his hat-trick came immediately after Malcolm Waller crunched him down the ground for four. Waller was bowled off the inside edge by an arm ball, before Donald Tiripano and Tendai Chatara were both dismissed by googlies. Like the men who had come to crowd the bat, the packed banks of his home ground also went into a frenzy at the hat-trick wicket. Hasaranga became the fifth Sri Lanka bowler to claim an ODI hat trick, and the third to do so on debut, after Taijul Islam and Kagiso Rabada.

Zimbabwe had their moments in the match, but unlike on Friday, could not mount pressure on Sri Lanka for sustained periods of time. Tendai Chatara claimed two wickets in his second over, but Upul Tharanga soon becalmed the innings, and very quickly, Sri Lanka were steadily sailing towards the target – Tharanga 75 not out, to follow his unbeaten 79 on Friday.

Hamilton Masakadza and Craig Ervine had earlier been involved in a promising 56-run second-wicket stand in Zimbabwe’s innings, but when Masakadza was caught and bowled sharply by Asela Gunaratne, a collapse followed. Zimbabwe lost five of their top six for 52 runs, in the space of 10.3 overs. Malcolm Waller offered the only resistance, slapping six boundaries in his 29-ball 38 – all but one of those boundaries coming off the spinners. While he and Peter Moor were at the crease, Zimbabwe would still have hoped for a score of over 200, but Hasaranga would wipe out the tail faster than anyone would have imagined.

Gunathilaka played on attempting to pull Chatara in the third over, and Kusal Mendis edged a leg-side ball to the keeper, but though the early overs remained tense, Zimbabwe could not make enough headway in them to push the hosts. Tharanga was poised early in his innings, pushing gentle singles and twos while Niroshan Dickwella ventured more aggressive strokes, but when Sri Lanka passed 100, he began to flow. He hit two leg-side boundaries to go to his fifth fifty-plus score in his last eight innings, and continued to attack as Sri Lanka drew near the total. At the other end was Angelo Mathews, prodding his team towards their target with characteristic care.

Zimbabwe will perhaps feel that they deployed the sweep shot a little too eagerly on this occasion, after that stroke brought them Friday’s success. Sri Lanka, meanwhile, may reflect on the benefits of deploying a wicket-taking spin bowler through the middle overs.

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