Former Sri Lankan batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan celebrates his 43rd birthday on Monday. Born on October 14, 1976, the right-handed batsman is one of the best cricketers produced by the Island nation. The latter started his career as a middle-order batsman. However, after the retirement of Sanath Jayasuriya, Dilshan got the opportunity to open the innings and the lad justified the decision. Dilshan batted with aggression proved his mettle in all formats of the game. Along with being a magnificent batsman, the veteran was a handy bowler and a gun fielder which makes him a formidable force in the cricket field. On the occasion Dilshan's birthday, we will recall the best international innings played by the batsman.
Dilshan made his international debut back in November 1999 and toiled the bowlers for over a decade. The batsman featured in 330 ODIs in which he amassed 10290 runs which comprised 22 centuries. In Test matches, the right-handed batsman scored 5492 runs in 87 clashes which also included 16 centuries. While in the shortest format of the game, Dilshan scored 1889 runs in 80 appearances. Dilshan was at his peak in the 2011 World Cup in which he mustered 500 runs and emerged as the highest run-scorer of the tournament. Focusing on his performances, let’s look at five spectacular innings played the Sri Lankan great.
160 Against India in Rajkot
Chasing a mammoth total of 415 runs in the first ODI of Sri Lanka’s 2009 Tour of India, Dilshan opened the innings for the visitors and attacked the bowlers from the outset. The right-handed batsman smashed the likes of Zaheer Khan of Harbhajan Singh to all the parts of the ground. Dilshan paced his innings to perfection and scored a splendid century. The opener also looked all set to guide Sri Lanka to a record victory. Unfortunately, he got dismissed for 160 and Sri Lanka fell short of the target by three runs.
193 Against England in London
Known for his blitz in white-ball cricket, the batsman played some astonishing knocks in the longest format too. In the 2nd Test of Sri Lanka’s 2011 Tour of England, Dilshan was leading the side and played a captain’s innings. In the second innings of the match, the batsman displayed great resilience and notched up his highest Test score. The skipper fell seven runs short of his double century but guided his team to 479 runs. England, however, also batted brilliantly and the match resulted in a draw.
104 Against Australia in Pallekele
The swashbuckling took the Men in Yellow by storm in the lone T20I of Australia’s 2011 Tour of Sri Lanka. Batting first, Dilshan made an absolute mockery of the Aussie bowlers and rained fours and sixes in Pallekele. The skipper registered his maiden century in T20Is and guided the hosts to 198 runs in the first innings. The knock proved to be crucial in the context of the game as Australia could manage only 163 runs and eventually lost the match by 35 runs.
137 Against Pakistan in Lahore
The batsman was at his prime in the third ODI of Sri Lanka’s 2009 Tour Pakistan. After winning the toss, the visitors decided to bat first. Dilshan batted with great responsibility and played most of his deliveries at merit. In the latter part of his innings, the opener shifted the gears and took the attack to the opposition. The dasher scored 137 runs and powered Sri Lanka to 309 runs in the first innings. In reply, Pakistan got bundled out for mere 75 runs and the visitors clinched the encounters by 234 runs.
106* Against Australia in Adelaide
Dilshan played a measured innings in the 2nd final of the 2012 Commonwealth Bank Tri-series. After losing the first match, the second clash was a do or die encounter for the Lankans. Chasing a total of 272, Dilshan joined forces with Skipper Mahela Jayawardene and the visitors got off to a flier. The captain was dismissed for 80. However, the opener didn’t lose his focus and brought up a well-compiled hundred. Courtesy, the veteran’s effort, Sri Lanka comfortably crossed the line and won the match by eight wickets.
The Sri Lankan batsman was an undisputable legend and will go down as one of the best batsmen to have graced the game. Dilshan announced his retirement in September 2016 and many bowlers around the world got a breather. The former mustered many match-defining knocks in his career, and also played a crucial role in making Sri Lanka a formidable cricketing force.