Dilshan revisits an old favourite
A conversation with his new coach Rumesh Ratnayake prompted Tillakaratne Dilshan to re-employ his trademark scoop shot for the first time in more than a year, the Sri Lankan captain has said.
Dilshan's startling 104 from 57 balls rushed the first Twenty20 international away from Australia in Kandy, the visitors unable to mount an effective chase of 199 after being bogged down by the spin of Dilruwan Perera and Rangana Herath.
The shot played over the head of the wicketkeeper has become known as the 'Dil-scoop', but its inventor had been reluctant to play it recently, even more so, now he is Sri Lanka's captain. Ratnayake suggested its return against the Australians, with handsome results.
"I haven't practiced the 'Dil-scoop' for the past one and a half years but yesterday we had a chat with Rumesh and he asked why I wasn't playing it," Dilshan said. "I told Rumesh 'you might see me play it tomorrow'.
"I had the confidence to play it. It worked and I think after I played the Dil-scoop they changed the field and I felt more easy to score more runs in other areas.
"I'm really happy with my innings today. I played a bit slow in the start but after that first six or seven overs, I tried to capitalise from there. Overall I'm really happy on our performance today."
Cameron White, Australia's T20 captain, admitted the sheer range of Dilshan's strokeplay had him hurriedly rearranging his field settings.
"When a guy can hit a ball ... almost directly behind the keeper it makes you put other fielders or a fielder back there and it creates other gaps somewhere else," White said. "Then he's got the ability to hit the ball down the ground or wherever he likes at times, like tonight.
"Clearly [we] didn't play as we would have hoped. Full credit to Sri Lanka, and Dilshan who played a wonderful innings. If anyone scores a hundred off 57 (55) balls it will be hard work to win the game from there. But look, there were some disappointing aspects of the game from our end as well."
White's approach in the field contrasted markedly with that of his opposite number. while Dilshan employed three spin bowlers on a surface taking turn, White preferred to use his pace bowlers in the concluding stages of the innings, with disastrous results - 83 runs accrued from the final six overs.
"There's no reason," White said when asked why neither Steve O'Keefe or Steven Smith bowled their full allotment of overs. "It's just my gut feel at the time.
"Shane Watson's first two overs only went for 12, John Hastings' first over only went for five. We were well in the game for the first 13 overs ... high 80s or 90s with two wickets down and get a wicket there and the game changes. As we've seen, Dilshan took the game away from us."