The wrist spinning duo of Wanindu de Silva and Lakshan Sandakan shared seven wickets between them to stage an embarrassing batting collapse for Zimbabwe and carve out a huge series-levelling win for Sri Lanka.
The spinning pair laid the platform for a wonderful victory at the Galle International Stadium which saw the visitors wrapped up for just 155 in 33.4 over batting first. While Sandakan got better of the top and the middle order with the support of part-timers Aseala Gunaratne and Danushka Gunathilaka, the debutant de Silva polished off the tail in the space of just three deliveries by registering a hat-trick on debut.
This superlative bowling performance was complemented by the batting efforts of Upul Tharanga, who led the chasing effort almost single-handedly with the help of his knock of 75 from 86 balls. Angelo Mathews (28 from 35) and Niroshan Dickwella (35 from 54 balls) provided the crucial support to Tharanga in the middle and the trio knocked off the target in just 30.1 over with seven wickets to spare.
Sri Lanka had a shaky start to the chase which saw Sri Lanka lose opener Gunathilaka and No.3 Kusal Mendis cheaply. But, there were no hiccups later on.
Zimbabwe can put the entire blame for the loss on its batting failure. After executing a stunning 300+ runs chase the other day, the same unit looked in complete disarray. At the same time, the credit also cannot be taken away from the two Lankan spinners, who were the only changes made by the hosts ahead of today’s game.
After being put to bat first, the Zimbabwean had a steady start despite the early loss of Solomon Mire, last match’s hero. Hamilton Masakadza and Craig Ervine added 56 for the 2nd wicket to make things look smooth and under control of the batting side.
But, after doing all the hard work of seeing off the new ball and settling down, Masakadza threw away his wicket and fell victim to an off-cutter form part timer Aseala Gunaratne in the 16th over, just a ball before the drinks break.
The downfall began from this point; a small collapse followed by a brief resurrection and a huge wind up from the Lankans.
Sandakan began his work starting with the wicket of Ervine in the over immediately after the game resumed from the break. Later in the 21st over, he added Williams to his tally followed it with the wicket of Ryan Burl in the 27th over. In between the two dismissals, Gunathilaka snapped up an important wicket of Sean Williams.
Malcolm Waller (38 from 29) tried a bit of counter attack was largely responsible for taking Zimbabwe’s score close to the 150 runs mark from 119/6 at the time of his arrival. However, the end came sooner than expected.
Peter Moor, the wicket keeper (11 from 13 balls) was removed by Sandakan in the 31st over which saw the small 38 runs stand come an end. Two overs later, debutant Wanindu De Silva completed a record-breaking hat-trick to put an end to the innings.
Zimbabwe: 155 all out (H Masakadza 41; Sandakan 4/52)
Sri Lanka: 158/3 (Tharanga 75; Tendai Chatara 2/33)
Man of the Match: Lakshan Sandakan