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    All-round Dilshan scripts perfect Sanga Mahela farewell

    December 17, 2014

    It was just about the perfect finish. Stumped Sangakkara, bowled Jayawardene brought the curtain down not only on the mismatched seven-game One-Day International series between Sri Lanka and England, but also on the home ODI careers of two of the most glittering gems in Sri Lanka’s cricketing crown.

    Tillakaratne Dilshan produced a typically bruising century, and then followed it up with a three-wicket burst, to fashion Sri Lanka’s 87-run win in the final game at the R Premadasa Stadium on Tuesday (December 16), but this night was all about Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara.


    While Sangakkara will still play Test cricket in Sri Lanka, this was Jayawardene’s last international outing on home soil. Neither legend made a massive impression with the bat, but when Sangakkara stumped James Tredwell to give Jayawardene only his eighth ODI wicket, it was enough to send the packed gathering into raptures.


    Dilshan’s brilliance and late cameos from Thisara Perera and Dinesh Chandimal had helped Sri Lanka to an imposing 302 for 6. With Dilshan starring with the ball and England showing no stomach for battle, with the exception of Joe Root, a familiar script unfolded as the visitor crumbled for 215 in 45.5 overs.


    England’s chase got off to the worst possible start, Dilshan removing Moeen Ali (0) and Alex Hales (7) inside the first eight overs. Alastair Cook, under pressure after a string of low scores, rode his luck – he survived an lbw shout first ball and was put down by Jayawardene to his left at slip — but edged Suranga Lakmal to Jayawardene at first slip after scoring 32 off 49 balls.


    James Taylor and Eoin Morgan followed soon after, as England found itself tottering at 78 for 5 in the 20thover.


    Root, who watched helplessly as wickets tumbled around him, was then joined by Jos Buttler. Between them, they built the first significant partnership, adding 48 off 50 balls. Once Buttler fell for 23, Root and Chris Woakes launched a reprisal attack with a seventh-wicket partnership of 66 off 75 balls, giving the visiting side a glimpse of hope.


    But when Perera removed Woakes (34) in the 40th over, it was all but over for England. Root managed a valiant 99-ball 80 before being trapped leg before reverse-sweeping Seekkuge Prasanna, who also removed Chris Jordan in the same over to reduce England to 193 for 9.(SLC/KH)

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