Cricket Australia Items/news/2013/1/14/thirimanne-adds-to-reputation

Thirimanne adds to reputation

UPDATED 14 January, 2013 8:15AM AEST | by Steve Barrett

The ghosts of his Sydney near-miss were prominent in Sri Lanka match-winner Lahiru Thirimanne's mind as he powered to a maiden international ton in his side's crushing one-day international victory over Australia at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday.

Thirimanne stroked an unbeaten 102 when he brought up the winning runs with a sweet cut to the boundary as the tourists romped home with eight wickets in hand and 59 balls remaining to tie the series at 1-1.

The 23-year-old soared past his previous ODI best of 77 and then his best in all internationals, the impressive 91 he scored in the second Test in Sydney, just two days after flying into the country.

In sight of a well deserved ton on that occasion, Thirimanne perished with a soft dismissal, miscuing to a diving David Warner at cover point, while attempting to loft a delivery from spinner Nathan Lyon.

Ten days later, the gifted left-hander learnt his lesson and avoided a similar lapse while negotiating the nervous 90s.

"After the Sydney Test I thought I could have got the century," Thirimanne said.

"That was in my mind when I was 90 (on Sunday). I tried to keep my head still and play along the ground.

"After that (batting partner) Kushal (Perera) helped me a lot to score the 100.

"It's my maiden hundred and I'm really happy about it."

Man of the match Thirimanne shared a vital 137-run second-wicket partnership with veteran opener Tillakaratne Dilshan (51).

The pair batted patiently, knowing they didn't have to take undue risks in pursuit of Australia's modest total.

"Early on we wanted to keep wickets intact," Thirimanne said. 

"Myself and Dilshan did that really well. We only had to score 170 so we wanted to bat through the innings. As a team we did really well in this match. It was a great team effort."

Not much has gone right for Sri Lanka on this tour with a myriad of injuries combined with a succession of losses.

The rub of the green finally went the tourists' way when they won a crucial toss and sent the Australians into bat under overcast skies but the bowlers still needed to get the job done, which they did to keep the series well and truly alive.

"It was a good toss to win," Thirimanne said. "We always thought about batting second as a good option.

"It was a good move by (captain) Mahela (Jayawardene).

"The bowlers bowled in good areas - they did their job, and the batters did their job.

"After the Melbourne match we spoke about little areas we wanted to improve.

"The team's confidence is really high at the moment." 

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 14 January, 2013 8:12AM AEST

Commercial Partners