Tillakaratne Dilshan has said the tri-series in Zimbabwe, in which he led Sri Lanka to victory as stand-in captain, helped him recover his lost form and carry it into the Asia Cup, where he sunk Bangladesh with an aggressive half-century followed by a canny spell in Dambulla.
Dilshan made 71 off 51 balls, helping Sri Lanka achieve the first-ever 300-plus total in Dambulla, and set his sights on scoring 1000 runs before 2010 ends. He presently has 603. "Before the Zimbabwe tour I was out of form. I started training and watched video clips of my batting and the little things that had gone wrong with my batting, and I made the necessary adjustments," he said after Sri Lanka's 126-run win. "I got the start in the first match in Zimbabwe and I have carried the form to the Asia Cup.
"I want to continue with this form for the next couple of months. I am close to 1000 runs in ODI cricket for the year. There are about five matches or so before the end of 2010 and I am hoping to make 1000 runs. I am enjoying my batting at the moment and trying to take some chances in the first 10 overs. If I survive I want to go for a big score. Today I had the opportunity to make a big score but unfortunately I got out in the 15th over."
Dilshan and his opening partner Upul Tharanga, who scored 54, put on 111 for the first wicket to set up Sri Lanka's record total. "We have an understanding that whoever is hitting the ball well should get most of the strike. I enjoy batting with Upul."
According to Dilshan, the wickets in Dambulla were getting better and batsmen can enjoy batting in future matches. "It is a good wicket for both batsmen and bowlers. Bowlers who can hit the deck have a chance to get wickets and in batting, if the batsman plays strokes, he can put the bowlers under pressure. It's an all-round wicket especially suited for batsmen."
Dilshan wasn't done after his innings, returning to halt Bangladesh's momentum with three quick strikes. He finished with 3 for 37 as Bangladesh were shot out for 186. "I am not surprised that I got three wickets. I knew when you play one spinner I will have to bowl a few overs," he said. "In the last one and a half years I was keen to bowl but I hardly got a chance because of the presence of Ajantha Mendis and Muttiah Muralitharan.
"Today there was only one spinner and I had to bowl and grabbed that opportunity and showed that I can still bowl. I think I can serve the team as an allrounder bowling offbreaks."