Super Thirimanne Century Levels Series For Sri Lanka

Super Thirimanne Century Levels Series For Sri Lanka
Super Thirimanne Century Levels Series For Sri Lanka
©REUTERS / Action Images

Sri Lanka172-2 (Thirimanne 102no) beat
Australia 170 (Haddin 50) by eight wickets
Second One-Day International, Adelaide
Report by John Pennington

Lahiru Thirimanne stroked a superb maiden One-Day International century to guide Sri Lanka to a convincing eight-wicket win over Australia in the second One-Day International in Adelaide.

After rain delayed the start of the match, Sri Lanka won the toss, elected to bowl and dismissed Australia for just 170. Thirimanne was then unbeaten on 102 as they chased down the target with exactly 10 overs to spare to level the five-match series at 1-1.

With wicket-keeper Dinesh Chandimal absent through injury and Kumar Sangakkara also unavailable, Sri Lanka handed a debut to Kushal Perera behind the stumps and he was there at the end, unbeaten on 14 as he allowed Thirimanne to reach his landmark and hit the winning runs.

Meanwhile, Australia handed debuts to fast bowlers Ben Cutting and Kane Richardson due to Mitchell Starc's injury problems and were also forced into a change behind the stumps during the game. Brad Haddin was forced to exit and Phillip Hughes, who followed up his brilliant century in game one with just three, donned the gloves.

Hughes opened alongside Aaron Finch (4) but both were quickly despatched by Angelo Mathews and Nuwan Kulasekara as Sri Lanka wasted no time in taking a firm grip on proceedings.

George Bailey made 26 and David Hussey 29 to revive Australia's chances but wickets continued to tumble in bowler-friendly conditions and the hosts found themselves reeling at 83 for six when Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell both fell for eight.

No bowler was particularly dominant for Sri Lanka as all six of them troubled Australia and the wickets were shared around - three for Lasith Malinga, two apiece for Mathews and Thisara Perera and one each for Kulasekara and Ajantha Mendis.

Australia only managed to post some sort of total thanks to Haddin hitting 50 in 67 balls and Cutting making a handy 27in a partnership of 57 for the seventh wicket.

Cutting then bowled a miserly opening spell as he and Clint McKay put Sri Lanka under pressure, Upul Tharanga falling to the latter before scoring a run.

Tillakaratne Dilshan and Thirimanne then joined forces and proceeded to put Sri Lanka on course for victory. Dilshan made 51 in 88 balls with four fours - playing the conditions and the match situation, rather than his natural, more aggressive game.

He and Thirimanne put on 137 for the second wicket, which came when Cutting earned a deserved breakthrough to have Dilshan caught by Maxwell.

There was to be no stopping Thirimanne, however, who cruised past his previous best of 77 but with Perera coming and quickly blasting a four and a six, he was in danger of missing out on his maiden century.

Unlike when Chandimal registered a century in similar circumstances at Lord's, almost jeopardising a run chase in the process, this time Sri Lanka had time on their side and Perera was able to give Thirimanne the strike. He obliged by hitting Maxwell for four to hand Sri Lanka a long awaited first win since arriving in Australia in December.

In all, Thirimanne faced 134 balls and hit 12 fours. The third game in the series is in Brisbane on Friday (18th January).

© Cricket World 2013

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