Sri Lanka clinch one-day series with 5-wkt win

By Ranjan Anandappa

Sunday 25, January 1998

SRI LANKA cantered to an easy five-wicket win over Zimbabwe without undue trouble to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three match one-day cricket series in the second game played at the R. Premadasa Stadium, Khettarama yesterday.

In reply to the visitors modest 212 for 8 off 50 overs, the Lankans scored the required runs 213 for 5 off 48.2 overs.

Alistair Campbell, the Zimbabwe skipper's gamble of winning the toss and electing to bat, misfired badly as their batsmen failed to put up a substantial total to apply pressure on the strong Sri Lankan batting line up. Campbell's decision would have come as a blessing in disguise to skipper Ranatunga as the Sri Lankans always loved to chase targets rather than defend. They included an additional batsman Mahela Jayawardena in place of the injured Chaminda Vaas.

After paceman Ravindra Pushpakumara nipped the experienced opener Grant Flower in the bud, bowling him off the inside edge in the last ball of his first over and Zimbabweans hopes of reaching a big score appeared to be a hard grind.

However, Murray Goodwin adopted his fighting qualities in rescuing his country with a maiden one-day century (111) only in his second one day international. Goodwin and Grant Flower (51) kept the Zimbabwe flame flickering for a while with a punishing second wicket stand of 105 runs off 24.3 overs that provided the backbone of their meagre total. Grant Flower faced 77 balls and had a couple of fours and a six while Goodwin's century was studded with seven fours facing 134 deliveries.

Zimbabwe were 106 for 1 in the 25th over but could not make much headway with the usual Sri Lankan fine fielding and lost seven more wickets for 106 runs in the remaining 25 overs. Besides Grant Flower, Goodwin and Guy Whittal who held the batting for a while, the rest did not enter double figures. Murray Goodwin was picked man-of-the-match for his fine batting.

In the run chase for Sri Lanka Jayasuriya and Atapattu gave the usual vibrant start for the first wicket putting on 76 runs with the 50-run stand coming in 11.1 overs. Soon after Sanath Jayasuriya reached his 50 off 61 balls with four boundaries and a five, lost his wicket to a spectacular diving catch by Heath Streak.

Arjuna Ranatunga (43) with three fours facing 53 deliveries, Mahanama (52) off 72 deliveries with a solitary four, thereafter guided the side towards victory.

Source: The Daily News

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Date-stamped : 25 Feb1998 - 18:57