Dilshan wants bigger scores


Tillekeratne Dilshan scored three half-centuries during the ODI series against New Zealand that ended at Dambulla on Saturday.

by Rex Clementine

Sri Lanka opener Tillekeratne Dilshan was named Man of the Series after he compiled three half-centuries in the ODI series against New Zealand that ended on Saturday at Dambulla. New Zealand took a lead by winning the second ODI and Sri Lanka squared the series winning the third ODI while the opening ODI was abandoned due to inclement weather.

Dilshan, who has retired from Test cricket, stressed the need to provide big scores top of the order. "I’m really disappointed over the fact that I got out after getting 80 runs in the first game. Even today, I could have gone for bit more runs. But on the other hand I’m happy that I played well throughout the series but still I feel disappointed of not getting at least one century in the series," Dilshan told journalists at Dambulla.

"Every batsman wants to go for a long innings. Since there are two new balls from two ends, it’s bit difficult in the first 10 overs but if you survive during that period, you can go for a long innings. I’ve done that in the past also," Dilshan added.

Sri Lanka’s bid to find a suitable opener for Dilshan continues and the team management experimented in this series as well. Kusal Janith Perera was impressive during the ODI series in Australia early this year and in recent times the selectors have gone back to Upul Tharanga. In the current series they experimented with Dimuth Karunaratne before abandoning the experiment and reverting back to former captain Mahela Jayawardene as Dilshan’s partner.

"It’s easier for me to bat with Mahela because he’s a very experienced cricketer and sometimes he guides me as well. But, it’s not the same when batting with a youngster. Even today, I got struck but Mahela came and hit a couple of boundaries to put the pressure on bowlers," Dilshan noted.

"I have no particular liking for an opening partner but to be honest, it’s easier batting with Mahela," he stated.

Speaking to journalists Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews was pleased the opening pair clicked. "We are very happy with the way that team played. Dilshan and Mahela started off brilliant but we lost our way in the middle. I thought the bowlers got together and they got us some runs and that was very crucial," Mathews said.

Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath was costly during the second ODI that Sri Lanka lost. He leaked 43 runs in his three overs including a massive 25 runs in the decisive last over, but bounced back in the final ODI by claiming three wickets. "Every captain should have confidence over his team. You cannot brand a bowler good or bad in just one match. Conditions were tough in the second match but players like Rangana Herath, Sachithra and Dilshan have won many matches for us. We have to back the players who’re with us."

With rain and bad light threatening to spoil the final ODI and hand New Zealand the series win, Mathews smartly used spin bowlers for the best part of 20 overs, the cut off number to determine a result in an ODI.

"We got the 20 overs done. If we didn’t get the 20 overs that would have been another disappointment and that’s why I bowled the three spinners and they responded brilliantly," Mathews went onto say.


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