Pallekele, March 10: Zimbabwe had no answers to the Sri Lankan opening pair that rampaged their way to a stand of 282 runs before the home side surged to 327/6 in their fifty overs. The Zimbabwean fielders were sent on a leather hunt as their bowlers toiled endlessly for wickets. In the end, Upul Tharanga scored 133 and Tillakaratne Dilshan managed 144, before a cluster of wickets enabled Zimbabwe to check the carnage ever so slightly. Zimbabwe fast bowler Chris Mpofu was the most effective bowler, finishing with figures of 4/62.
Sri Lanka's innings got off to a blistering start thanks to some power-hitting from Tillakaratne Dilshan. In the second over, he came down severely on Zimbabwe fast bowler Tinashe Panyangara, getting him awya for three fours and a six. Then Dilshan and Upul Tharanga each took a four off Chris Mpofu in the following over as the Lankan raced to 33/0 in 3 overs.
Dilshan ran a single off-spinner Ray Price in the 7th over to bring up his side's 50. Then it was Tharanga's turn to get into the act, smashing Mpofu for three fours in the 10th over. Four overs later, Dilshan ran a single off slow-left-armer Price to bring up his 50, before creaming Graeme Cremer for another boundary to take Sri Lanka past 100 in the 17th over.
Then in the 22nd over, Tharanga notched up his half-century as Sri Lanka moved onto 125. Dilshan ran a single of Grag Lamb to bring up Sri Lanka's 150 in the 26th over. The runs kept flowing effortlessly for the Lankan openers as Dilshan smacked Elton Chigumbura for two fours in the 31st over, in the process reaching 100. His ton had come off just 95 balls.
Tharanga subjected Panyangara to similar treatment in the 33rd over and one over later, Sri Lanka had climbed past 200/0. Fast forward to the 41st over and Tharanga had reached his own century by spanking Price for a boundary before repeating the shot in celebration. Then one over later, Tharanga went after Greg Lamb, smoking him for three offside fours as the home side moved past 250.
Finally in the 45th over, Mpofu accounted for the wicket of Tharanga when the batsman holed out to deep midwicket. Dilshan then departed in a similar manner in the next over off the bowling off Prosper Utseya. The next two overs bore three wickets - those of Thisara Perera who was dismissed by Price for 3, Mahela Jayawardene who went for 9 to Mpofu, and Chamara Silva who perished to the same bowler for 4.
Some lusty hits at the death from Kumar Sangakkara and Thjilan Samaraweera took Sri Lanka to a total of 327/6.