Charith Asalanka’s maiden ton helped Sri Lanka post 258 runs against Australia in the fourth ODI at RPS, Colombo yesterday.
Despite a poor start, Sri Lanka revived their innings thanks to a brilliant 101 run partnership between Dhananjaya de Silva and Charith Asalanka for the fourth wicket to help post 258 before they were bowled out in 49 overs.
Put in to bat, the hosts were off to a slow start losing their top three batters inside the first 10 overs. Opening the batting alongside Pathum Nissanka, Niroshan Dickwella was stumped in the second over off Glenn Maxwell’s bowling to put early pressure on the Lankans.
Kusal Mendis looked to repeat the feat which he and Nissanka performed in the third ODI, but a brilliant bowling effort from the Australians saw Kusal Mendis chop a thick inside edge onto his stumps in the 7th over to add salt to their wounds.
With two wickets down Sri Lanka looked to accelerate their innings to at least post 50 runs at the end of the first power play, but Australian bowlers maintained a tight line and length and were successful to get the all-important wicket of previous centurion Pathum Nissanka, when he tried to open the face of the bat and run it to third man but only managed to get a thin edge to wicket keeper Alex Carey.
With Sri Lanka reeling on 3-34 at the end of the powerplay, Dhananjaya de Silva together with Charith Asalanka added a 101 partnership for the fourth wicket, with de Silva notching up his half century in 52 balls. He was well supported by Asalanka, rotating the strike and maintaining a run rate of 6 runs per over. Asalanka took 60 balls to score his 6th ODI half century.
With things going well for Sri Lanka a superman effort form Glenn Maxwell at mid wicket saw Dhananjaya de Silva walking back to the pavilion after a run a ball 60 runs including 7 boundaries.
Skipper Dasun Shanaka lasted just 12 balls before being run out, when Asalanka turned for the second run but then aborted. However, watching the replay, it was clear Shanaka wasn’t really pushing the first run.
With two quick wickets at regular intervals, Charith Asalanka – who failed to impress throughout the series – came to the rescue and stood firm and delivered at the correct time.
The 24-year-old went on to score 110 runs off 106 deliveries including 10 boundaries and a six. It was a treat to watch the former U-19 skipper smashing the Aussie bowlers all over the park to reach his maiden ton in 15 matches.
He was well supported by young Dunith Wellalage for his little cameo of 17 runs in 33 balls. The duo were engaged in a 57 run partnership for the 6th wicket to help their team post a competitive total.
Wanindu Hasaranga added a late flourish to the inning with a quickfire 20 ball 21 runs.
(Pix By Kelum Chamara)
By Mustaq Sydeen