Australia v Sri Lanka ODIs
Mathews pays tribute to retiring Dilshan
Warm praise from Sri Lanka's skipper as Tillakaratne Dilshan prepares to farewell ODI cricket
Callum Kanoniuk in Dambulla
28 August 2016, 10:15 AM AEST
Sri Lanka great Tillakaratne Dilshan will today bid farewell to one-day international cricket when he steps out for the final time in Dambulla.
Earlier this week, Dilshan announced that today’s third ODI against Australia would be his last in the 50-over format, before departing from Twenty20 internationals in Colombo on 9 September.
The now 39-year-old made his ODI debut all the way back in 1999 when he posted 35 runs batting at No.6 in a washed-out encounter against Zimbabwe.
Only 10 players in the history of the game have scored more than Dilshan’s 10,248 career runs and the explosive right-hander did so at a greater strike rate than all of those particular batsmen, except for his nation’s current chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya.
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Captain Angelo Mathews paid tribute to his retiring opener and put him alongside of two of the finest to ever represent the Lions.
"He's been an absolutely brilliant servant for Sri Lanka Cricket over the past 17 years," Mathews told media ahead of the third ODI.
"He's equalled the services of Mahela (Jayawardena) and (Kumar Sangakkara). We are going to miss him a lot.
"Unfortunately he has called it a day and we respect that decision. The whole team wishes him all the very best for the future.
"It's definitely going to be a tough ask to fill his boots, but we have seen the youngsters taking a lot of responsibility."
Despite modest returns of 22 and 10 in the opening two matches of the series, Dilshan has shown few signs of slowing down in limited-overs cricket.
In fact, 2015 was the most prolific calendar year of the right-hander’s career as he collected 1,207 runs at an average of 52.47, including a World Cup campaign that yielded a pair of hundreds and a scorching 62 against eventual champions Australia.
Sri Lanka Cricket has already confirmed tickets for Dilshan’s farewell matches in both of the limited-overs formats have been sold out, with locals still scrambling to be a part of the predicted 17,000 fans taking in the action later today.
Dilshan's ODI career
Matches: 329 | Runs: 10248 | High score: 161* | Average: 39.26 | Strike rate: 86.34 | 100s: 22 | 50s: 47
Matches: 43 | Runs 1027 | High score: 106 | Average: 26.33 | Strike rate: 79.67 | 100s: 1 | 50s: 5
Matches: 31 | Runs: 763 | High score: 110 | Average: 33.17 | Strike rate: 80.23 | 100s: 1 | 50s: 4