Dickwella, Gunathilaka drive Sri Lanka home against Zimbabwe

Hambantota [Sri Lanka]: Sri Lanka pulled off a resounding eight-wicket win in the third ODI at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium, Hambantota to take 2-1 lead in the five-match series against Zimbabwe on Thursday.

After Hamilton Masakadaza’s fifth ODI century guided Zimbabwe to an imposing 310 for 8 from 50 overs, the Angelo Mathewsled-side rode on centuries from Niroshan Dickwella and Danushka Gunathilaka to reach 312 for 2 from 47.2 overs.

Dickwella compiled 102 from 116 balls with 14 fours, while Gunathilaka scored 116 from 111 balls with 15 fours and a six in their 229-run opening stand.

Maiden hundreds from the left-handed batting duo meant Sri Lanka chased down over 300 runs for the first time on home soil.

The massive opening stance gave Kusal Mendis (28 not out) and Upul Tharanga (44 not out) the freedom to go after Zimbabwe’s tired attack and complete the formalities with a breezy 75-run stand.

Tharanga, who was dropped by Chamu Chibhabha on 24, remained unbeaten for the third time in succession in this series. Tharanga’s dropped chance was one of four catches Zimbabwe put down in another forgettable display on the field.

Earlier Masakadza, who look in fine touch in the previous game too, batted with plenty of positive intent and put on a crucial 127-run partnership for the second wicket with Tarisai Musakanda (48) before Sri Lanka struck back to check Zimbabwe.

Masakadza’s 98-ball 111 was laced with 15 fours and a six. In the wake of the seasoned pro’s century, Zimbabwe was eyeing a 350-plus total before a middle-order collapse dented its hopes. This, despite Sri Lanka losing Nuwan Pradeep, the paceman, to a leg injury after six overs.

Wanindu Hasaranga, the leg-spinner who took a hat-trick on his ODI debut in the second match in Galle, and Asela Gunaratne, the medium-pacer, grabbed two wickets each.

Sean Williams contributed with a fighting 43 while cameos from Peter Moor (24) and Sikandar Raza (25 not out) helped Zimbabwe cross the 300-run mark.

The fourth ODI will be played at the same venue on Saturday. (ANI)