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Spinners, Tharanga steer Lanka to series-levelling ODI win over Zimbabwe

Upul Tharanga struck a sparkling unbeaten half-century after spinner came to fore as Sri Lanka hammered Zimbabwe by seven wickets in the second ODI to level the five-match series 1-1 at the Galle International Stadium on Sunday.

Chasing a lowly target of 156 runs, Lanka had a shaky start as they lost opener Danushka Gunathilaka and Kusal Mendis cheaply for eight and duck respectively.

However, Tharanga then steadied his side’s innings as he not only struck an unbeaten 86 balls 75-run knock, but also forged a crucial stand of 81 runs with captain Angelo Mathews to help Lanka chase down the target in just 30.1 overs.

Opener Niroshan Dickwella also scored significant 35 runs besides stitching a 67-run third wicket partnership with Tharanga.

Earlier, after put in to bat first, Zimbabwe batsmen struggled to bat on the similar pitch where they defeated the Angelo Mathews-led side by six wickets in the opening ODI.

Zimbabwe were eventually bundled out for 155 runs, with opener Hamilton Masakadza (41) and Malcolm Waller (38) being the only batsmen to provide their side with some fight back.

Padlr Sandakan was the pick of the bowlers for Lanka for his figure of four for 52 followed by Wanidu Hasaranga’s three for 15 runs.

19-year-old legspinner Hasaranga became only the third bowler to pick up a hat-trick on ODI debut after Taijul Islam and Kagiso Rabada.

Nuwan Pradeep, Asela Gunaratne and Danushka Gunathilaka also chipped in with a wicket each.

Sandakan was declared ‘Man of the Match’ for his match-winning spell.

The two sides will play their third ODI at Hambantota on Thursday.

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