Sussex v Sri Lankans, Tour match, Hove

Dilshan and Vithanage blitz Sussex in record time

Alan Gardner at Hove

May 18, 2014

Comments: 36 | Text size: A | A

Sri Lankans 128 for 0 (Dilshan 73*, Vithanage 52*) beat Sussex 126 for 7 (Machan 63, Perera 2-13) by 10 wickets

Tillakaratne Dilshan flayed an 18-ball half-century, Sussex v Sri Lankans, Tour match, Hove, May 18, 2014
Tillakaratne Dilshan flayed an 18-ball half-century © Getty Images

With the sun shining on the UK's hottest weekend of the year so far, Sri Lanka scorched to a ten-wicket win in less than half the allotted overs to complete their warm-up matches ahead of the limited-overs series against England in dashing style. Tillakaratne Dilshan slashed and burned his way to an 18-ball half-century, with Kithuruwan Vithanage only a little more circumspect in his fifty from 22. No Sussex bowler managed to go at less than ten an over as 65 balls were left unbowled.

Needing to score at little more than a run a ball, Sri Lanka's openers thrashed 96 from the six-over Powerplay - more than the T20 international record 91 that Netherlands set against Ireland at the World T20 in March, though slightly less than Lahore Eagles made in a 2012 Faysal Bank match.

Of their 128 without loss, 110 flowed in boundaries, as the Sri Lankans completed the fastest successful chase of a score of 125-plus. Their aggression made the Sussex innings appear as if it had been a donkey ride on the beach down at Hove seafront.

When Vithanage struck his fifth six towards the Sri Lankan support at the Cromwell Road End, enthusiastic attempts to catch the ball caused the boundary board to collapse. Sussex had already buckled by then. After back-to-back games in the NatWest T20 Blast, Sussex made four changes for this match but they were not as understrength as the scorecard made it seem.

Vithanage, 23 years old and with a handful of Test and ODI appearances to his name, crunched Steffan Piolet for three sixes in a row over midwicket as Sri Lanka cut their target in half by the end of the fourth over. The second bounced off the roof of the scoreboard on the east side of the ground and out into the neighbouring flats; its replacement went even further and another ball was immediately called for.

So frequently was the ball flying to the rope that occasional dot balls were met with ironic cheers. Only the seventh over, bowled by Chris Liddle, did not contain any boundaries.

The World T20 champions, without Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara for the first time since their retirements, dropped the needle straight back into its groove. They had looked in control at the halfway stage, when a Sri Lankan band played with some gusto. The music was of the pop filler variety as the chase got under way but it was still Sri Lanka that were calling the tunes.

Playing their first 20-over match since the World T20 final (although their tour match at Essex was reduced to 21 overs per side), Sri Lanka fielded a much-changed side. Kusal Perera, Angelo Mathews and Nuwan Kulasekara were rested - though all are expected to be involved in the T20 against England on Tuesday - and, with Rangana Herath being preserved for the Test series, there were six changes to the XI that lined up against India in Dhaka.

Dinesh Chandimal, the captain who dropped himself during the World T20 and has since been replaced by Lasith Malinga, took Sangakarra's wicketkeeping gloves, with Vithanage, Ashan Priyanjan, Seekkuge Prasanna, Ajantha Mendis and Suranga Lakmal the other players to come in.

Sussex began solidly enough, ending the Powerplay on 40 for 1, but opener Matt Machan was the only batsman to manage a substantial innings, his 63 providing exactly half of Sussex's total. Thisara Perera throttled the scoring during the middle overs, finishing with 2 for 13 from his allocation, and Sussex only managed 12 boundaries; Sri Lanka's 25 in less than half the overs showed how modest that effort was.

Malinga brought himself on in the fourth over and struck almost immediately, removing Luke Wells, playing in only his second T20. Wells wants to play more limited-overs cricket for Sussex but this was not the bowler to make his case against.

Michael Yardy, crabbily stepping into line from outside leg stump, drove Malinga for four during an otherwise laboured 11 off 25 balls, while Machan thumped Mendis and Sachithra Senanayake for sixes but Sri Lanka were able to keep on top of things without breaking into much of a sweat. Their fielding was not at its sharpest, Lahiru Thirimanne's drop of Ben Brown suggestive of a sunny Sunday slackness, but there was intensity enough to come with the bat. The exhibition by Dilshan and Vithanage might have been enough for a crowd of around 5000 to forgive the early finish.

One of the oddities of Sri Lanka's World T20 triumph was that their only defeat came against England, a side that exited the tournament on the lowest note of a miserable winter by losing to Netherlands. The stage is nicely set for Tuesday's rematch at The Oval.

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick

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Posted by goldeneye075 on (May 19, 2014, 13:51 GMT)

It is always good to win a game. But Pre matchers are played for a purpose, and I am not sure whether Lanka did full fill it to 100%. I bet only for around 80%. Reason: 1) Bowling - Seekkuge Prasana is in the team for bowling, but he didn't get a single opportunity to bowel, despite the Sussex were in a very bad position in their batting. Every other bowler has had a good outing in the previous matchers. Batting: Once Dilshan has completed his 40 or 50 should have retired and should have given others chances to bat for a while, who may have not done great as example for Thiri. I fully blame the Captain the support staff, for been very ignorant about these, main point is for the team to get a good practice, not to be selfish or to go to get glory Mali :-) Be a leader who leads and prepare the young !!!

Posted by   on (May 19, 2014, 13:41 GMT)

Its a shame that some Indian fans consider the IPL as all that matters in cricket... For the IPL critic, The difference is that the Sri lankans plays better as a team with better spirit in the T20 format. Out of the box, we have 11 match winners where anyone or few may fire when it is required. On the other hand, only some Indian players play well in the IPL who are sadly left out in the international line up. Likewise I enjoy the IPL but am a better fan of SL cricket I guess.

Posted by Lucky_Serasinghe on (May 19, 2014, 12:42 GMT)

This kind of a solitary T20 match against a half-strength county side (with a few regulars without penetrative bowlers) is not a yardstick to judge things. This Kithruwan's List A - 36 Ings /519runs/Av.15.72 and Twenty20 - 20ings /398 runs/ Av 26.53 stats in domestic cricket, CANNOT even justify a place for him in the T20 Squad, like Kusal in the ODI squad.

Posted by SUPER_SIX on (May 19, 2014, 12:24 GMT)

@saravananunga: We sri Lankans don't care about IPL. They play for their country.Whereas Indians play for money & for personal milestones.Have u forgotten the WT20 final already.

Posted by saravananunga on (May 19, 2014, 11:47 GMT)

If Dilshan and vithanage really possess talent i wonder why they were not taken in IPL auction ,these people cant win the one day and test series for sure its going to be very hard challenge in england hopefullt they will loose heavily and somehow they feel over the moon now having won with sussex which even Ireland can do easily we will see on May 20

Posted by rizwan1981 on (May 19, 2014, 11:33 GMT)

Sri Lanka needs to blood BHANUKA RAJAPAKSHE - He is an all-rounder and has a better technique than his former Royal College team amtes Kusal Perera or Vithanage .

Posted by Sinhabahu on (May 19, 2014, 10:20 GMT)

I remember playing a few matches like this on the computer game "Brian Lara Cricket '99" on Easy mode.

Posted by Udendra on (May 19, 2014, 10:09 GMT)

For everyone picking-out KJP, do you remember Sanath's initial years? I don't think it's wise to send in Kithruwan at top against a full English XI.

Posted by   on (May 19, 2014, 8:28 GMT)

If the sun is shining SL in business !!

Posted by ksquared on (May 19, 2014, 7:59 GMT)

@Qaaid Mowlana ur team is good but I would replace chaturanga desilva with Thisara Perera he looks to be in good form with both bat and ball. Pity Lakmal might not be in the side because his performances have been outstanding thus far.

Posted by   on (May 19, 2014, 6:45 GMT)

Kusal's obvious weakness is the swinging ball. A batsman who has that weakness should not be an opening batsman. Period. XI for Tuesday: 1. Kithruwan Vithanage 2. Tillakaratne Dilshan 3. Lahiru Thirimanne 4. Dinesh Chandimal 5. KJ Perera 6. Ashan Priyanjan 7. Angelo Mathews 8. Chaturanga de Silva 9. Nuwan Kulasekara 10. Sachithra Senanayake 11. Lasitth Malinga ----------------------------------------------------------- Kusal's best performances have always come in the middle order. His first class and list A high scores were both scored in the middle order. SL should bring back Munaweera to open with Vithanage(after T Dilshan retires), and replace Mendis with talents like Akila Dananjaya or Tharindu Kaushal; even county players are playing Mendis as if he is a part-timer!

Posted by AS7777 on (May 19, 2014, 6:13 GMT)

For tomorrows match no Sangakkara and Mahela means SL can go with Vithanage and Kusal both. Since Kusals form as a opener questionable recently Vithanage and Dilshan can open the innings. Kusal as a middle order batter. So team should go like this, Dilshan, Vithanage, Thirimanna, Chandimal, Kusal, Mathews, Perera, Kulasekara, Mendis, Lakmal, Malinga

Posted by   on (May 19, 2014, 5:34 GMT)

Let us hope the weather remains kinder to all players and spectators alike. Let us enjoy what is going to be a spectacular T20 match. The two teams have met before and England were the only team (Alex Hales) to beat Sri Lanka during the last WC T20. We know the rest is history, SL went on winning all their matches and won the World Cup (again). England had to get back to basics following a thumping from Netherlands etc. Good weather permitting it will be an exciting match.

Posted by   on (May 19, 2014, 4:12 GMT)

Hopefully SL will open the Odis n t20 with kithruwan and dashing dilshan...

Posted by   on (May 19, 2014, 1:50 GMT)

I think should be given a chance to Vithanage open the inning up comeing T 20 match

Posted by   on (May 19, 2014, 1:40 GMT)

Dear weather, keep yourself in a good mood. The most underrated cricket team in the world (by commentators, media etc.) is ready to change the history.

Posted by   on (May 19, 2014, 1:16 GMT)

Yehhhh...Again Sri Lanka prove they are the Wlrld Champions...Good Luck for the SL team to win their T20I n ODI against ENG.ENG is a best team in their home condition as well as they are the only team that beat SL in the world cup.No matter For SL because Dilly back in Action.Hope they will do it.. Cheerss...

Posted by Lakpj on (May 19, 2014, 1:13 GMT)

A weather might play a big part in this series. If it is gloomy and cold England will have a chance otherwise it would be tough for them. If there is no movement England bowlers are not all that affective.

Posted by   on (May 19, 2014, 1:12 GMT)

Hopefully, Wickets will stay friendly for the entirety of the one-day series. Good workout for the 5 game ahead.

Posted by ZiyadAg on (May 19, 2014, 1:10 GMT)

Kusal Perera has not scored many in Ireland or England. Good try out with Kiruwan Vithange opening alongside Dilshan. A left and right hand combination. I think Sri lanka will go with Kithruwan for the 20-20 and atleast 2 ODI against England. Right thinking. Kithruwn is aggressive like Kusal.

Posted by vkumar_086. on (May 19, 2014, 0:43 GMT)

Oh my my my! What a thrashing is this! Awesome to the maximum. Seems Kithuruwan Vithanage is the new find for Sri Lanka which has a fantastic future.

Posted by android_user on (May 18, 2014, 23:26 GMT)

this match looks like ea 2007....simply awesome!!!

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (May 18, 2014, 23:15 GMT)

No nonsense. That's how you play cricket.

Posted by priceless1 on (May 18, 2014, 19:57 GMT)

Weather will play a key role in this series( ODI , T20 ). if its sunny day then SL will win the match comfortably , if its gloomy day then England will win it comfortably

Posted by Rawanaa on (May 18, 2014, 19:56 GMT)

Kithruwan is an aggressive but reliable player & he found his feet on england soil so I think he would be better open the innings with Dilshan behalf of kusal... No argue Kusal is talented but this time kithruwan deserve the place... Hope the white wash of England.. My money with my team Srilanka & we will take test series... Best of luck for that...

Posted by Herath-UK on (May 18, 2014, 19:32 GMT)

Typical belligerent Sri Lankan style.They are the T20 champions & are entitled to treat the rest with disdain!

Posted by   on (May 18, 2014, 19:21 GMT)

srilankans will hurt the english men in coming t20 lnt&odis.also i will aware of the two tests.we have a good side to compete in these kind of english bouncy & swingin pitches.sanga has only single test century in england.but deosn't mater he is more than enough form of playing the conditions.i hope srilanka will do their best.

Posted by   on (May 18, 2014, 18:43 GMT)

Good to see Vithanage, who has probably never played in England before, batting with such authority. Kusal got a few chances in England but failed to make the best out of them and Vithanage performed the first chance he got. However, Kusal should be given one more chance to open in the next T20I.

Dilshan, who was struggling throughout the T20 WC, more than appears to be back in form!!

The only change that needs to be done is to drop Mendis, definitely for the ODIs, he gets 1 or 2 wks but is expensive. He has been played extremely well by COUNTY PLAYERS (last match), so he will not be very effective against Eng, who got the better of him in the WC albeit in a dew-drenched match.

Kulasekara and Mathews will also be back, and if Kusal plays: Kusal, Dilshan, Thiri, Chandi, Mathews, Vithanage, Thisara, Kulasekara, Mendis/Sachi/Priyanjan/Prasanna, Lakmal, Malinga.

First T20 after the legends' retirement and Sri Lanka are off to a flyer! Reminded everyone that they are the #WorldChamps ;)

Posted by YsaKaru on (May 18, 2014, 18:36 GMT)

Good job boyssszzzz!!!!!!!!! Welldone!!!!!!

Posted by FawltyBean on (May 18, 2014, 18:20 GMT)

Sri Lankan fans relax. Sussex didn't play their First XI. Sri Lanka played against an inexperienced team and won handily, nothing to boast about. Real test is Tuesday, troubles will start then.

Posted by Modestman on (May 18, 2014, 18:04 GMT)

Now then.. that's more like the Lankan Lions

Posted by   on (May 18, 2014, 18:03 GMT)

Is this the same slow Dilshan we hace seen in the past year or so?

Posted by   on (May 18, 2014, 17:35 GMT)

Very poor by Sussex and County cricket!

Posted by   on (May 18, 2014, 17:31 GMT)

That's why they called, T20 World cup Champions!!!!!

Posted by android_user on (May 18, 2014, 17:30 GMT)

Good to stage up morale of SL..... Dilshan was more than awesome, Vithanage showed his colours...

Posted by   on (May 18, 2014, 17:26 GMT)

Sri Lanka is too strong for England, unless the weather is all gloomy

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