Upul Tharanga remained unbeaten on 75    AFP
Upul Tharanga remained unbeaten on 75 AFP

A dominating show from Sri Lanka saw them crush Zimbabwe in the second ODI as the hosts won by 7 wickets at Galle to level the five-match series 1-1. Spinners, Wanindu Hasaranga and Lakshan Sandakan set up the victory. It was followed by Upul Tharanga‘s third successive fifty that took them home. The 19-year-old Hasaranga became only the third player, after Taijul Islam and Kagiso Rabada, to claim a hat-trick on ODI debut. Chasing 156, Sri Lanka received early jolt with Tendai Chatara claiming consecutive wickets. But steady partnerships took the game away from Zimbabwe. Full Cricket Scorecard: Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe, 2nd ODI at Galle

After Kusal Mendis and Danushka Gunathilaka were wiped off for single digits, Tharanga and Niroshan Dickwella added 67 runs. They smashed four boundaries to keep Sri Lanka in the game ahead during the lunch-break with 111 required to win. Since then, it all went wrong for Zimbabwe as there were dropped catches coupled with some bouncers from pacers. But once the skipper Graeme Cremer took the ball into his hands, he removed Dickwella for 35. Sri Lanka were 79 runs away from levelling the ongoing series then.

Skipper Angelo Mathews and Tharanga welcomed the runs flowing their way with the Zimbabwe bowlers unable to find the right length. Chatara who provided early breakthroughs proved to be expensive in the 23rd over leaking 15 runs, taking Sri Lanka closer to victory. The concerns for Zimbabwe heightened when Chatara was seen hobbling off the field after hurting his knees while saving a couple of runs. On the other hand, Tharanga brought up his fifty off70 deliveries with a boundary off Sean Williams. Tharanga and Mathews unbeaten 81 stand handed Sri Lanka a much-needed win with 119 balls to spare.

Earlier, putting Zimbabwe into bat, Sri Lanka spinner’s spun the visitors out for 155. Cremer has now lost the toss for sixth consecutive ODI. After Amilo Aponso and Akila Dananjaya’s expensive show against Zimbabwe in the previous game, Sri Lanka made a couple of changes to their side. Hasaranga and Sandakan joined the squad replacing Aponso as well as Dananjaya. Mendis and Lasith Malinga, who were suffering from illness, were declared fit ahead of the crucial clash.

Malinga went wicket-less. Nuwan Pradeep was spot on as he picked the wicket of first ODI centurion Solomon Mire for nought. Hewas caught behind by Dickwella. Hamilton Masakadza continued his form and received decent support from Craig Ervine. They stitched 56 runs, the highest of Zimbabwe innings. After the Powerplay it was Sandakan’s entry that dismantled the Zimbabwe middle-order. He had Ervine caught behind, Raza top-edged a reverse sweep, Ryan Burl was bowled and Peter Moor was his final wicket where the ball edged to his stumps.

Hasaranga, on the other hand, was called only for 2.4 overs and finished the task for Sri Lanka. Malcolm Waller who was the next highest-scorer for his side (38) after Masakadza’s41, was the first target of Hasaranga. His innings included 6 boundaries. The wickets followed as Donald Tiripano and Chatara were cleaned up by googlies.

Although Zimbabwe were bundled out in 34 overs, Sri Lanka were sloppy on the field dropping three catches similar to that in the first game.

Brief scores:

Zimbabwe 155 all out in 33.4 overs (Hamilton Masakadza 51, Malcolm Waller 38; Lakshan Sandakan 4 for 52, Wanidu Hasaranga 3 for 15) lost to Sri Lanka 158 for 3 in 30.1 overs (Upul Tharanga 75*, Angelo Mathews 28*; Tendai Chatara 2 for 33) by 7 wickets with 119 balls to spare