PALLEKELE, Sri Lanka, Sept 5, (AFP): Retiring “Dilscoop” inventor Tillakaratne Dilshan has a last chance to showcase the audacious shot that bears his name when Sri Lanka play Australia in two Twenty20 internationals this week.
The Sri Lankan’s cheeky ramp shot, in which he goes down on one knee and flicks the ball over the wicketkeeper’s head, has plagued bowlers and inspired fellow batsmen since he unveiled it in 2008.
Fans have a final opportunity to see the 39-year-old — and with luck, his famous “Dilscoop” — when Sri Lanka take on Australia in Pallekele on Tuesday and in Colombo on Friday.
Australia are fresh from a convincing 4-1 victory over Sri Lanka in their one-day internationals, which comes after their 3-0 drubbing in the Test series last month.
After announcing his retirement during the ODIs, Dilshan did not get a chance to show off the “Dilscoop” in front of some raucous home crowds, thanks to some tight bowling from the Australians.
He will now be keen to unleash it in the T20s. Few players have shots named after them, but Dilshan’s overhead paddle shot has ensured his place in cricketing history.
“The Dilscoop, I first tried in 2008 in South Africa against Australia because I knew nobody could stand behind the wicketkeeper,” Dilshan recalled after playing his last ODI match last week.
Dilshan, who batted in almost every position before finally settling as a fast-scoring opener, has racked up 87 Tests, 330 ODIs and 78 T20s during a stellar 17-year career.
With Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews sidelined with injury, stand-in-skipper Dinesh Chandimal said his side would shake off their ODI-series loss and come back stronger in the T20s.
David Warner’s Australia are looking to keep up their winning momentum going into the last leg of a two-month tour of the island.
But Australia’s injury list has grown after the ODIs, with explosive opener Aaron Finch and Chris Lynn joining Shaun Marsh (broken finger) and Nathan Coulter-Nile (back injury) out of the squad.
Finch, who will perform 12th-man duties in the T20s, broke his index finger during the fifth and final ODI in Pallekele while Lynn dislocated his shoulder during a team practice session.
With regular skipper Steve Smith and Mitchell Marsh rested, the visitors have asked wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade and ODI star George Bailey to stay back for the final two games.
Wade, who will stay on for both matches, and Bailey, for one of them, have countered the sluggish Sri Lankan pitches with aplomb in the ODIs.
Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (capt), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva, Chamara Kapugedara, Milinda Siriwardana, Kusal Mendis, Seekkuge Prasanna, Sachithra Senanayake, Suranga Lakmal, Thisara Perera, Sachith Pathirana, Kasun Rajitha, Dasun Shanaka
Australia: David Warner (capt), George Bailey, Scott Boland, James Faulkner, John Hastings, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Usman Khawaja, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Nevill, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa
India’s top court quashed criminal proceedings on Monday against one-day international captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni over a magazine cover depicting him as a Hindu god.
The Supreme Court said a lower court in southern Karnataka state had wrongly summoned Dhoni over the case, one of several brought mainly by Hindu nationalists accusing him of hurting religious sentiments.
“(We) quash the proceedings including the summoning order against the accused … we have taken note of the complaint and the offence alleged while passing this order,” a bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi said, according to the Press Trust of India.
The controversy dates back to 2013 when Business Today magazine ran a drawing portraying Dhoni as Hindu god Vishnu, holding various products representing his wide-ranging endorsement deals, including a shoe.
Hindu nationalists lodged criminal complaints to police against him in different parts of the religiously diverse but Hindu-majority country, although most were later dismissed.
England limited overs captain Eoin Morgan said he was “excited” by his team’s progress in 50-over cricket despite a season-ending four-wicket loss to Pakistan in Cardiff on Sunday.
That defeat meant England had to be content with a 4-1 one-day international series win rather than a first home 5-0 whitewash.
It also denied Morgan’s men, who back in June tied an ODI with Sri Lanka in Nottingham before winning that series, a maiden unbeaten season in white-ball cricket ahead of Wednesday’s lone Twenty20 against Pakistan in Manchester.
England may still be fifth in the International Cricket Council ODI rankings but they have made significant progress since their embarrassing first-round exit at last year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
And with England staging both the 2017 Champions Trophy and the 2019 World Cup, it is no longer fanciful to think they could win their first major international 50-over trophy within the next few years.
“We’ve been outstanding,” said Morgan. “Every game throughout the series, we’ve come out with a hunger and determination to perform at our best.”
England fell short of what they wanted in making 302 for nine in Cardiff, with opener Jason Roy top-scoring with 87 and all-rounder Ben Stokes contributing an ODI-best 75.
But they were on course for a whitewash when Pakistan lost two wickets in one Mark Wood over to be 77 for three.
However, a record fourth-wicket partnership of 163 between wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed (90) and Shoaib Malik (77) turned the match Pakistan’s way.
Morgan, though, remained heartened by England’s commitment to an aggressive approach in ODI cricket since their World Cup debacle.
“I think it’s exciting,” he said.
“The attitude and hunger to want to be better playing in that manner, I think, sums up the direction one-day international cricket is going and the talent we have.”
But with world number one-ranked Australia also completing a 4-1 series victory away to Sri Lanka on Sunday, Morgan denied England — beaten on home soil in the 2013 final by India at Edgbaston — were favourites for next year’s Champions Trophy.
“Australia are playing some really strong cricket… South Africa, India as well,” said the Irishman.
“I know the last Champions Trophy we played (here), the pitches were a bit drier than we thought, and brought in sub-continent teams.
“I don’t think, this far out, you can label anybody as favourites.”