Cricket World Rewind: #OnThisDay - Sri Lanka 443/9 blast highest ODI total with turbo-charged tons from Jayasuriya & Dilshan
July 4, 2006 - Sri Lanka broke the record for the highest ODI total with 443/9 against Netherlands in 2006, but the match did not get the due coverage. It was bettered a decade later by England's 444/3 against Pakistan in 2016.
After Sri Lanka were successful in tying the three-match Test series 1-1 on their tour of England in 2006, the team was all over the hosts in the ODI series, embarrassing them with a 5-0 win.
It was reported that the Sri Lankan cricket board agreed for a two-match series against Netherlands to round off the trip without discussion with the players. The matches were also not broadcast on TV and with almost no spectators at the VRA cricket ground in Amstelveen, apart from the cricketers' wives, the Sri Lankan team had every reason to be frustrated.
They vented their anger at a hapless Netherlands bowling attack and broke a world record that day. However, just like the match, the feat did not get a lot of traction and couldn't make it further than the record books.
Just six months before the match, when South Africa had chased down Australia's total of 434 to beat them on the last ball of the match, creating a world record in the process, the game grabbed headlines all over the world and was the centre of attraction for days, if not months to come.
However, when Sri Lanka broke the record for the highest ODI total with 443/9 against Netherlands in July 2006, it did not cause ripples despite the match having ODI status.
The ICC awarded full ODI status to six associate countries in 2005 to provide them exposure against the big teams. Although the intention was nobel, little follow-up was done. No additional funds were granted to associate nations for hosting matches. Neither did international sponsors take much interest in these games.
As a result, out of the 15 ODIs that associate nations played in the first year of them being awarded international status by the ICC, only five were broadcast on TV. Out of the five, four featured Bangladesh and Kenya and one was between England and Ireland.
Batting first, the opening pair of Sanath Jayasuriya and Upul Tharanga started on fifth gear and the speed never dropped throughout the innings, despite the fall of wickets.
Jayasuriya was particularly punishing of the Netherlands attack and plundered 157 runs off just 104 deliveries, including 24 fours and 1 six, at a strike rate of over 150. He added 149 runs with Kumar Sangakkara and when the latter departed in the 28th over, Sri Lanka were already sitting at 237, with almost half the overs to go.
The wickets kept falling but Dilshan took over the mantle from Jayasuriya and remained unbeaten on 117 off 78 balls with 15 fours and 2 sixes, at a strike rate of 150. With support from Farveez Maharoof towards the end, Sri Lanka put 443 runs on the board, crushing the world record. Darron Reekers, Peter Borren and Ryan ten Doeschate proved to be the most expensive bowlers.
Their record stood for 10 years before being broken by England with 444/3 against Pakistan in August 2016.
Netherlands tried their best and scored 248, with a fine half-century from Tim de Leede and 47 from Alexei Kervezee but they still lost the game by a huge margin of 195 runs. The second and the last match of the series met a similar fate, with Sri Lanka scoring 313/8 and winning by 55 runs.
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