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All-round Perera helps Sri Lanka arrest losing slide

Thisara Perera came up with a match-winning performance
Thisara Perera came up with a match-winning performance

Sri Lanka 202-5 (Kusal 49) beat
Zimbabwe 198 (Thisara 4-33) by five wickets
4th game, Tri-Series, Dhaka

Thisara Perera picked four wickets and scored a blistering 39-run knock as Sri Lanka finally managed to return back to winning ways with a five-wicket victory over Zimbabwe in the fourth game of the tri-series in Dhaka.

This is Sri Lanka's first win in the tri-series that sees host Bangladesh holding the top position. The result will also give some relief to head coach Chandika Hathurusingha as the team registered their first win since he took over.

Zimbabwe won the toss and decided to bat first. Hamilton Masakadza (20) and Solomon Mire (21) started the proceedings confidently as they added 41 runs in the first nine overs.

Sri Lanka had a scare when Nuwan Pradeep (3-28) limped off the field in the 10th over and Perera (4-33) provided the breakthrough when he had Masakadza caught at short mid-wicket and in his successive overs also had Mire and Craig Ervine (2) dismissed.

The hero of Zimbabwe's win of Sri Lanka in the previous game, Sikandar Raza (9) was accounted by Lakshan Sandakan (2-57) as Zimbabwe were reduced to 73 for four.

Brendan Taylor (58) along with brief supports from Malcolm Waller (24) and skipper Graeme Cremer (34) provided some resilience before Nuwan Pradeep (3-28), who returned back from an injury scare cleaned up the lower order to wrap up Zimbabwe innings to 198.

Sri Lanka started cautiously in the chase with a score of seven runs in the first three overs. Kusal Perera (49) and Upul Tharanga (17) scored 33 runs in the first nine overs before Tendai Chatara (1-40) castled the latter.

Kusal continued to play strokes and was supported by Kusal Mendis (36) and the duo added 70 runs for the second wicket as they laid a solid platform.

However, Zimbabwe did manage to hold things back through Blessing Muzarabani (3-52) removed Kusal, Mendis and Niroshan Dickwella (7) in quick succession while Kyle Jarvis (1-34) accounted for Asela Gunaratne (9). Sri Lanka were reeling at 145 for five at that stage.

Skipper Dinesh Chandimal (38 not out) along with Thisara (39 not out) ensured Sri Lanka did not let things slip away with an unbeaten 57 run stand with the latter hitting three sixes in his 26-ball knock.

Perera was awarded the player of the match for his all-round brilliance.

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