Sri Lanka survives Ngarava storm, thanks to Liyanage’s brilliance

Janith Liyanage

Colombo, Jan 9, 6.30AM – Sri Lanka pulled off a nail-biting victory against Zimbabwe in the second Nippon Paint One Day International match at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Monday. Despite a tough start, a brilliant 95-run innings by Janith Liyanage led Sri Lanka to a thrilling two-wicket win over Zimbabwe, with one over to spare, securing a 1-0 lead in the series.

Zimbabwe’s Richard Ngarava stole the show with his exceptional swing bowling, claiming four key wickets from Sri Lanka’s top order within the first 15 overs. Avishka Fernando (4), Sadeera Samarawickrama (4), Charith Asalanka (duck), and Kusal Mendis (17) all fell victim to Ngarava’s outstanding performance, leaving the Lankan top order in disarray.

Despite the early setbacks, Janith Liyanage played a crucial role in turning the tide. In his second ODI, Liyanage composed a well-crafted innings, scoring 95 runs off 127 balls. His partnership with Sahan Arachchige, who contributed 21 runs, added 37 runs for the fifth wicket. The lower order, particularly Maheesh Theekshana, played a vital role with an 18-run contribution in a match-saving 50-run partnership for the sixth wicket.

Liyanage’s departure in the 43rd over, caught at mid-off while attempting to accelerate the score, left Sri Lanka at 172-8. However, Dushmantha Chameera (18 off 25) and Jeffrey Vandersay (19 off 18) took charge, steering Sri Lanka to a thrilling victory in the 49th over. Chameera’s decisive four over the bowler’s head secured the win, as Sri Lanka reached 211/8.

With this win, Sri Lanka now leads the series 1-0. The third and final match is scheduled for January 11, Thursday, at 2:30 PM, set to be a day-night encounter at the same venue. Cricket fans can expect another exciting clash as both teams vie for supremacy in the series finale.

Chief scores:

Sri Lanka 211/8 in 49 overs (Janith Liyanage 95, Sahan Arachchige 21, Jeffrey Vandersay 19, Dushmantha Chameera 18, Maheesh Theekshana 18, Kusal Mendis 17, Richard Ngarava 5/32, Sikandar Raza 2/32).

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