Cricket World Rewind: #OnThisDay - Aravinda de Silva magic helps Sri Lanka register unexpected victory against Australia
August 15, 1992 - The 1992 ODI World Cup did not pan out well for Sri Lanka as the team managed to win just two matches in the tournament. To be honest, they were not expected to do wonders in the first place.
Australia, on the other hand, could not meet expectations and won just four matches in the World Cup.
Shortly after the tournament, Sri Lanka were on a tour of Australia. In the first fixture of the three-match ODI series between the two sides, a brilliant innings from Aravinda de Silva took them to an unexpected victory.
Australia began on a solid note and things were going as per the script for them when Tom Moody and Mark Taylor added 109 runs for the opening partnership. While Moody was dismissed after getting to his half-century, Taylor batted sensibly at a strike rate of 72.86 but fell just six runs shy of a century.
Dean Jones and Mark Waugh then made important 30s as the team posted 247 runs on the board from their quota of 50 overs.
While the Sri Lankan bowlers could not pick up a lot of wickets, what they did was to keep a stranglehold on the Australian batting line-up and not allow them to fly. Pramodya Wickramasinghe and Asanka Gurusinha were the most impressive, bowling at economies of under 4. Don Anurasiri also bowled at an economy of 4.40 while picking up one wicket while Ruwan Kalpage picked up two.
Sri Lanka suffered a jolt when Roshan Mahanama was dismissed for a duck early on. His opening partner Hashan Tillakaratne lasted 21 deliveries but could only manage seven runs. It was then that Asanka Gurusinha and Aravinda de Silva joined hands for a 147-run partnership that stabilised the Sri Lankan innings.
Gurusinha was dismissed shortly after reaching his half-century but Aravinda de Silva went on, batting at run a ball with 12 fours and 2 sixes. Aravinda was at his flamboyant best, playing the ball on merit and not on the reputation of the bowler as he took the bowling attack apart.
He clubbed the ball to all parts of the park in his unique fashion and kept galloping towards the target. Apart from Greg Matthews and Mike Whitney, both of whom bowled at just under 3.5 RPO, the rest of the bowlers got some tap from de Silva as the stylish batsman looked determined to take the team home.
Against the run of play, he was part of a mix up with Arjuna Ranatunga and lost his wicket. Had de Silva not been run-out, the match would have been over a lot earlier. Ranatunga then took on the mantle and remained unbeaten on 45 runs, also scoring at almost a run a ball to take the team to a memorable 4-wicket victory in the last over of the match.
This was one of de Silva's 11 ODI centuries and among the more memorable ones as it came in a thrilling chase and in a last-over finish, against none other than the Aussies.
With big names like Tom Moody, Mark Taylor, Dean Jones, David Boon, Mark Waugh, Allan Border and Ian Healy in the opposition camp, no one was giving Sri Lanka a chance but the team showed what they are made of by pulling off an exciting victory.
Sri Lanka went on to win the next match by 5 wickets and registered a historic 2-1 series victory despite a defeat in the final match.
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