Dilshan batters England with ton

CAPTAIN POSITIVE::England’s Alastair Cook said that the tour of Sri Lanka had made his team tougher, adding that players like Root, Woakes and Jordan had been good


Thu, Dec 18, 2014 - Page 19

Tillakaratne Dilshan smashed a century and grabbed three wickets in his 300th one-day international as Sri Lanka whipped England by 87 runs in the seventh and final match in Colombo on Tuesday.

Dilshan passed the 9,000-run mark in one-day cricket on his way to a stroke-filled 101 to lead the hosts to a commanding 302-6 after they elected to bat in the day-night match.

England were bowled out for 215 in 45.5 overs in reply after Dilshan’s off-spin broke the tourists’ back with the key wickets of Moeen Ali (0), Alex Hales (7) and Eoin Morgan (4).

Joe Root top scored with 80, but skipper Alastair Cook (32) and Chris Woakes (34) were the only other batsmen to cross 30 in a disappointing batting display by the tourists on a slow pitch.

The emphatic victory gave Sri Lanka the series 5-2 and left England searching for a winning formula ahead of the World Cup, which is to open in Australia and New Zealand on Feb. 14.

The veteran pair of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene could not have asked for a better parting gift in their last one-day international on home soil.

The duo whetted the appetite of about 20,000 Sri Lanka fans at the Premadasa Stadium with some glorious strokeplay, but fell just when they looked set for a big score.

Jayawardene had hit 28 off 22 deliveries when he pulled a short ball from Harry Gurney to the long-leg fielder. Sangakkara offered a tame catch to mid-wicket off Ali after making 33.

The fans roared with delight when Jayawardene, a part-time off-spinner who was handed the ball by skipper Angelo Mathews, had James Tredwell stumped by Sangakkara in his second over to finish the match.

Jayawardene, who has already retired from Tests, will hang up his boots after the World Cup. Sangakkara too will quit one-dayers after the tournament, although he remains non-committal about his future in Tests.

An emotional Mathews paid rich tributes to the duo, saying the entire team will miss their guidance after the World Cup.

“They have served Sri Lanka cricket so well and guided the youngsters, it will be a big hole to fill when they leave,” the Sri Lanka captain said.

“We played this series well and that makes us all quite excited about the World Cup, but a lot of hard work needs to be put in before that to ensure we get to the World Cup fully prepared,” Mathews added.

Sri Lanka are due to fly to New Zealand later this week for a tour of two Tests and seven one-day internationals to prepare for the tournament.

Cook conceded that the target was too stiff to chase, but said the matches in Sri Lanka had toughened his team.

“This has been a tough tour, but people have come through it well,” he said.

“Root has been outstanding, also Woakes and [Chris] Jordan. We have worked incredibly hard, but have not been good enough,” Cook added.

Dilshan, whose 18th one-day century contained nine fours and a six, put on 55 for the first wicket with Jayawardene, 65 for the second with Sangakkara and 80 for the fourth with Dinesh Chandimal.

Dilshan pulled a full toss from Chris Jordan to Ali on the deep mid-wicket fence in the 44th over, but Chandimal (55 not out) and Thisara Perera (54 off 26 deliveries) boosted the total with a quickfire stand of 63 from 35.

Ali and Jordan claimed two wickets each, but seamer Woakes was hammered for 71 runs from his nine overs and off-spinner Tredwell gave away 50 in seven.