Chevrons dis­ap­point Lose to Sri Lanka by 8 wick­ets

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport -

SENT in to bat on a green and slightly damp Harare sur­face, Zimbabwe lasted only 41.3 overs, leav­ing Sri Lanka a tar­get of 155 that they chased down breezily cour­tesy of Dhanan­jaya de Silva’s un­beaten 78.

Easy on the eye and ruth­less on any­thing short or on his pads, de Silva scored his sec­ond ODI half-cen­tury, and put on 56 for the first wicket with Kusal Perera and 84 for the sec­ond with Niroshan Dick­wella to steer Sri Lanka home with 153 balls re­main­ing.

Given the to­tal they were de­fend­ing, and the fact that the pitch was eas­ing up as the match wore on, Zimbabwe couldn’t af­ford to give Sri Lanka’s bats­men any lives. De Silva was the re­cip­i­ent of one off the first ball of the chase, when he nicked Ti­nashe Panyan­gara to wick­et­keeper Peter Moor only to be re­prieved by a no-ball call. The pres­sure was off Sri Lanka there­after, with Zimbabwe’s bowlers send­ing down a steady stream of loose balls, usu­ally erring on the short side. Perera and Dick­wella were both out to pulls, but the shot was also highly pro­duc­tive, bring­ing Sri Lanka 38 runs off 14 balls, in­clud­ing seven of their fours and the one six of their in­nings, hit by Kusal Mendis off Graeme Cre­mer’s legspin.

With the sur­face of­fer­ing side­ways move­ment as well as bounce, Upul Tha­ranga had no sec­ond thoughts about choos­ing to bowl first — it was the 17th time the cap­tain win­ning the toss had done so in the last 19 matches at the Harare Sports Club — and his seam­ers took no time mak­ing use of the con­di­tions, run­ning through the top or­der to leave Zimbabwe 50 for 6. They were in dan­ger of fall­ing short of 100 for the fifth time in ODIs against Sri Lanka, but Peter Moor and Graeme Cre­mer pre­vented that even­tu­al­ity with a sev­enth-wicket part­ner­ship of 55.

Moor fell for 47, while Cre­mer, who moved the to­tal past 150 with some help from Don­ald Tiri­pano and Ti­nashe Panyan­gara, was left stranded on 31. Mak­ing his ODI de­but, all­rounder Asela Gu­naratne fin­ished as Sri Lanka’s most suc­cess­ful bowler, pick­ing up three lower-or­der wick­ets with his medi­umpaced of­f­cut­ters.

The early dam­age, though, was done by Sri Lanka’s three front­line seam­ers. Su­ranga Lak­mal started the top-or­der pro­ces­sion in the fourth over of the in­nings, hit­ting a good length in the cor­ri­dor and let­ting the pitch do the rest as Brian Chari and Craig Ervine poked un­cer­tainly and nicked to the slip cor­don. Nuwan Ku­lasekara, re­turn­ing to Sri Lanka’s line-up for the first time since Jan­uary, then got one to stop on Sikan­dar Raza, who flicked in the air to short mid­wicket, be­fore Sean Williams threw his wicket away to spin, jump­ing out to left-arm spin­ner Sa­chith Pathi­rana, slog­ging, and missing the line of one that went with the an­gle from around the wicket.

Nuwan Pradeep, the third seamer, struck the next two blows, straight­en­ing one just enough to get Chamu Chib­habha lbw play­ing across the line, and then, in his next over, mov­ing it a lit­tle fur­ther to get a lead­en­footed El­ton Chigum­bura caught be­hind. Zimbabwe had lost six wick­ets in just 17.1 overs.

Moor looked in ex­cel­lent touch in an ag­gres­sive 52-ball in­nings, strik­ing cleanly and fear­lessly when­ever any­thing was in his zone; he hit four ef­fort­less sixes, the pick of them a shovel over long-on off Pathi­rana and a pull off Ku­lasekara that lifted Zimbabwe past 100. He fell the very next ball, though, caught on the crease by an in­ducker that hur­ried past his de­fen­sive jab and rapped his front pad in front of mid­dle and leg.

Tiri­pano showed im­pres­sive tech­nique for a No. 9 in mov­ing to 19 be­fore go­ing for an il­lad­vised hoick off Gu­naratne that picked out long-on. Gu­naratne then spun an of­f­cut­ter like a fast off­break to pin his fel­low debutant Carl Mumba lbw, be­fore Panyan­gara, slogsweep­ing mer­rily, hit a four and a six be­fore he was the last man out, mis­cu­ing an­other at­tempted slog. Watch­ing from the other end, Cre­mer wouldn’t have been too pleased with that shot, or in­deed the one Tiri­pano played to get out. He had bat­ted sen­si­bly and looked in barely any trou­ble, and would have hoped some­one stuck around long enough with him to take Zimbabwe as close to the 50-over mark as pos­si­ble.

Sri Lanka 155 for 2 (De Silva 78*, Dick­wella 41) beat Zimbabwe 154 (Moor 47, Cre­mer 31*, Gu­naratne 3-21) by eight wick­ets. — ESPNCricinfo

Zimbabwe’s play­ers wore dis­con­so­late ex­pres­sions after a crush­ing de­feat in Harare, yes­ter­day. — AFP

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