Dilshan Hits Century As Sri Lanka Ease To Final Win
Sri Lanka 203-1 (Dilshan 108no, Tharanga 72) beat
Zimbabwe 199 (Taibu 71, Fernando 3-36) by nine wickets
One-Day International tri-series final, Harare
Sri Lankan captain Tillakaratne Dilshan guided his side to a nine-wicket victory over Zimbabwe in their One-Day International tri-series final with a fluent unbeaten century in Harare.
Zimbabwe were bowled out for 199 after losing the toss and being invited to bat and Dilshan's unbeaten 108 in 102 balls helped his side hurry to victory with more than 15 overs to spare.
The all-rounder, leading the side after regular captain Kumar Sangakkara, and a number of other players, were given a rest ahead of the Asia Cup, shared an opening partnership worth 160 with Upul Tharanga.
Both men batted with confidence and aggression, Tharanga carving eight fours and a six over long-on as he faced 79 balls and Dilshan stroked 14 fours, including the winning hit over fine leg as Zimbabwe never looked like repeating their victory over Sri Lanka earlier in the week.
Their partnership was broken when Tharanga was run out, leaving young wicket-keeper Dinesh Chandimal to hit an unbeaten 16 to help Dilshan finish off the game.
Dilshan's bowlers set up the victory by striking early as Nuwan Kulasekara had Hamilton Masakadza (4) caught behind by Chandimal and in-form opener Brendan Taylor superbly caught by Thilan Samaraweera for the first of three Dilhara Fernando wickets and when Craig Ervine was run out, Zimbabwe were in trouble at 49 for three.
Tatenda Taibu and Greg Lamb then put on a stand of 90 for the fourth wicket to raise hopes of the home side at least passing 200 but their stand was broken when Taibu, who made 71 in 93 balls, was caught by Chamara Kapugedera as Fernando struck again and wickets then tumbled as the Zimbabwe batsmen tried in vain to force the pace.
Lamb made a patient 37 in 65 balls before he was bowled by Jeevan Mendis and while Elton Chigumbura (10), Charles Coventry (18) and Prosper Utseya (10 not out) made starts, sharp fielding and smart bowling from Sri Lanka prevented them going on.
Fernando completed figures of three for 36 by bowling Graeme Cremer for three while Ajantha and Jeevan Mendis took two wickets apiece.
Sri Lanka's ruthless chase ensured that all seven matches in the series were won by the team batting second and both sides marked umpire Rudi Koertzen's final One-Day International by giving him a guard of honour as he left the field.
He finishes his career in England by taking charge of Test match cricket between Australia and Pakistan next month, and while Sri Lanka return home to begin their preparations for the Asia Cup, which they will attempt to defend in Dambulla, Zimbabwe take on India in two Twenty20 Internationals on Saturday and Sunday (12th/13th June).
© Cricket World 2010