Kangaroos Dil-scooped

By Aubrey Kuruppu

Tillekaratne Dilshan put his one day disappointments in England aside to show the way with a swashbuckling, nerve-shattering and wits scattering hundred – his first in T20s – as Sri Lanka humbled the Aussies by 35 runs in the first of two matches at the picturesque Pallekelle Stadium.
Sangakkara and Mendis made sizable contributions but no one could steal the thunder from the skipper. His century came off 59 balls, contained ten fours and five sixes.

Dilshan celebrating after scoring his maiden T20 hundred. Pic by Sanka Vidanagma

Jayawardena certainly looked in good nick, lofting the straight for four and then laying back and cutting O’Keefe impressively to the cover boundary. But Lee did him in with a speedy yorker which the batsman helped on to the base of his off peg.

Revenge came swiftly when Dilshan had a top-edged hook for six and sliced four through cover in the same over. Chandimal kept swishing across the line constantly during his brief knock. With experience he will surely learn that style and elegance don’t have to be tossed aside in the swift pursuit of runs.

Sangakkara was quite brilliant in the way he scored his 3o runs off only twenty balls. Flicks, lofted shots, full blooded sweeps cascaded from his bat. He singled out Johnson for special treatment.

Dilshan allowed Sangakkara his head, probably deciding that he had to bat through to the end. He ‘Dil-scooped’ Watson for a perky four. Mendis showed the benefit of his recent English experience by playing some sizzling shots. The pull shot off Holdings, with an upraised right knee was the piece de resistance.

Dilshan in all probabilities felt he had a hundred for the taking and changed gears with telling effect. Johnson suffered the most as the ball kept disappearing over the boundary at mid-wicket. He reached his maiden century in 57 balls, with 13 fours and five sixes. He was brutal, belligerent and at times simply awesome.

199 was formidable but the challenge was made more stiff by the indifferent batting of the two front-liners. Warner apart, the others just came and went. Warner was superb and showed the Sri Lankan crowd exactly why he’s so highly rated. Pulls and lofted shots were played with consummate ease.
Perera was the star in the Sri Lankan bowling and accounted for three quick wickets that set the Aussies back on their heels.

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