Hasaranga hat-trick, Sandakan four; Zimbabwe 155


Innings Zimbabwe 155 (Masakadza 41, Sandakan 4-52, Hasaranga 3-15) v Sri Lanka
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details


Lakshan Sandakan was wise to the efforts of the Zimbabwe batsmen in their use of premeditated shots and kept them in check by switching his lines © AFP

Two days after Sri Lanka’s spinners were collectively crashed around the Galle Stadium at more than seven runs an over, a new look spin attack took the middle overs by the collar, and spun Zimbabwe out for 155.

On debut, 19-year-old legspinner Wanidu Hasaranga made the most dramatic contribution, befuddling Zimbabwe’s last three batsmen to claim a hat-trick on debut. But Sri Lanka were already in a strong position thanks largely to Lakshan Sandakan, sidelined for long periods by the selectors but deadly upon his return here. Zimbabwe’s batsmen tried to sweep him hard, and often, as they had done to Amila Aponso and Akila Dananjaya in the last match, but Sandakan, wise to this plan, switched up his lines when he saw a premeditated shot coming, and in any case, enacted so many revolutions on the ball, that his dip and bounce created chances. He had Craig Ervine caught behind, before Sikandar Raza top-edged a reverse sweep, Ryan Burl was bowled attempting one, and Peter Moor edged the ball back onto his stumps. To Angelo Mathews’ credit, Sandakan was kept in the attack despite a slightly high economy rate, and was allowed to deliver his 10 overs inside a 21-over period. His final analysis was 4 for 52.

Hasaranga, meanwhile, was required to deliver only 2.4 overs, but was nerveless in that spell, persisting with an aggressive length even when batsmen had hit boundaries off him. In fact, his hat-trick came immediately after Malcolm Waller crunched him down the ground for four. Waller was bowled off the inside edge by an arm ball, before Donald Tiripano and Tendai Chatara were both dismissed by googlies. Like the men who had come to crowd the bat, the packed banks of the stadium also went into a frenzy at the hat-trick wicket.

Zimbabwe’s dismissal inside 34 overs came despite three dropped catches from Sri Lanka, who had also put down three in the first game. The difference here was that, thanks to Sandakan, they continued to create chances through the middle overs.

Hamilton Masakadza, whose edge was dropped at second slip by Kusal Mendis in the first over – bowled by Lasith Malinga – was Zimbabwe’s top-scorer, making 41 off 56 balls. His 56-run stand with Craig Ervine was the longest of the innings. Including Masakadza’s dismissal – which was the result of a sharp Asela Gunaratne caught-and-bowled – Zimbabwe lost five of their top six for 52 runs.

After that early stand, only Malcolm Waller offered any sort of resistance, slapping six boundaries in his 29-ball 38 – all but one of those boundaries coming off the spinners. While he and Peter Moor were at the crease, Zimbabwe would still have hoped for a score of over 200, but Hasaranga would wipe out the tail faster than even he might have imagined.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando


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