Sri Lanka beat Zimbabwe by 184 runs in the third and final one-day international on Friday, clinching the series 2-1. Leg-spinner Jeffrey Vandersay took four wickets.
In Kandy, Zimbabwe were bowled out for 70 runs in 24.4 overs in response to Sri Lanka’s total of 254-9.
Dushmantha Chameera, a fast bowler, and Ramesh Mendis, an offspinner, each took two wickets.
Sri Lanka’s opening batsman Pathum Nissanka top-scored with 55 runs, while Charith Asalanka contributed 52 runs after the team opted to bat first.
Leg-spinner Vandersay, on the other hand, made the match his own with career-best statistics as Sri Lanka picked up valuable Super League points in their bid for a direct entry for the 2023 World Cup.
“We played really good cricket throughout, but I think winning the toss played a really big role, especially today,” skipper Dasun Shanaka said after the win.
“It was more on the slower side, we thought 270 would be ideal, so we felt we were maybe 20 runs short. But we always knew we were in it with our spinners were always in with a chance.”
Despite missing numerous key players, notably Wanindu Hasaranga and Dhananjaya de Silva, Sri Lanka recovered from their opening loss.
“It’s really good to have so many good players sitting out, we haven’t had such depth for many years and it’s a good sign for Sri Lanka cricket for the coming years,” said Shanaka.
Sri Lankan bowlers went all out to defend the lowest total of the series, which saw the hosts chase down 297 runs in the first game before falling 22 runs short of their 303-run goal in the second.
Chatara’s 100 wickets
In the third over of the chase, Chameera struck again, dismissing Regis Chakabva for one and skipper Craig Ervine for nought.
Sean Williams escaped a hat-trick, but was soon dismissed for six by off spinner Maheesh Theekshana.
Vandersay had Takudzwanashe Kaitano, who was making his ODI debut in the series, stumped for 19 with wicketkeeper Kusal Mendis quickly removing the bails.
Ramesh, who scored a crucial 26 with the bat, added two wickets after replacing Nuwan Pradeep, as the opposing batting collapsed like a pack of cards.
Nissanka had earlier helped Sri Lanka get off to a solid start by putting up 80 runs with opening partner Kusal Mendis.
Zimbabwe responded with wickets to damage the hosts’ hopes, despite Asalanka’s 56-ball century, which gave Tendai Chatara his 100th ODI scalp.
Chatara beat former captain and fast bowler Heath Streak’s 81-match effort to become the fastest Zimbabwe bowler to a century of ODI wickets in 76 matches.
Richard Ngarava’s nine overs yielded figures of 2-46.
Chamika Karunaratne, who scored 30, and Ramesh added 48 runs for the seventh wicket to help the team reach a winning total.
“We’ve put in some really good performances in the first two games, but it’s really disappointing to end the series with a display like that,” said Ervine.
“In terms of positives, our opening partnership is definitely a plus. Kaitano has been great and I’m sure he’s gonna be around for a while.”
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