The best of Tillakaratne Dilshan

The inventor of Dilscoop turns 44!

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Dilshan
The legendary all-rounder retired from the international cricket after 17671 international runs including 39 Tons & 83 Fifties

There are only a handful of cricketers in history who could contribute to the team’s success as a true four-dimensional cricketer and Sri Lanka’s legendary cricketer Tillakaratne Dilshan was one of them.

Read – The best of Sanath Jayasuriya

He batted everywhere from the top to no. 08, bowled crucial overs, was electric in the field and kept wickets when the team required him to do so.

During his career, the all-rounder produced many unforgettable performances, guiding Sri Lanka to victory on countless occasions. On his 44th Birthday, this is a celebration of a few of those memories from his legendary career.

In Tests

163* vs Zimbabwe | 1999, Harare

In his first international tour, 23-year-old TM Dilshan successfully proved the faith the selectors had kept in him by scoring a patient 163, batting for 8 hours in the 2nd Test vs Zimbabwe at Harare.

The youngster top-scored for Sri Lanka and guided them to 432, laying the foundation for a comfortable 6-wicket victory over the Chevrons.

However, Dilshan had to wait another 10 years for his 2nd Test century outside Sri Lanka, with this being one of only three centuries he made outside the subcontinent during his Test career.

147 vs Australia | 2012, Hobart

During a Test career that spanned the 15 years, TM Dilshan only had the opportunity to play 5 Test matches in Australia. The best performance of those instances came in 2012 at the Bellerive Oval, Hobart.

In reply to the hosts’ 450 in the 1st innings, Sri Lanka were struggling at 4/87 as they lost the big fish at the top of the order, Sangakkara, Jayawardene and Samaraweera. Dilshan then counter-attacked the Aussie bowling line-up led by Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle, shouldering the Sri Lankan lineup to a respectable 336, avoiding the threat of the follow-on.

His superb knock of 147 included 21 boundaries and is the last Test century by a Sri Lankan on Australian soil to date.

193 vs England | 2011 at Lord’s

Undoubtedly, the greatest Test innings by TM Dilshan was delivered at the Home of Cricket, the Lord’s Cricket ground in 2011 when he played one of the best knocks by a Sri Lankan skipper in the 2nd Test vs England in 2011.

The Sri Lanka team was down and out after a devastating loss at Cardiff in the 1st Test where they were bowled out in just one session. Sri Lanka had to make amends for that horrible performance and the skipper led the way as he silenced all the critics in the only style he knows; Attack, Attack, Attack!

He was dismissed just 7 runs short of what would have been the first double century by a Sri Lankan at Lord’s. He battled with a fractured thumb in his innings but that didn’t restrict him from finding boundaries at will.

The innings is still the 2nd highest score by a Sri Lankan in England behind Sanath Jayasuriya’s 213 at the Oval in 1998.

Read More – The best of Mahela Jayawardene

In ODIs

144 & 4/4 vs Zimbabwe | 2011, Pallekele

TM Dilshan achieved the rare feat of making a century and taking 4 wickets in the same match in a group stage game of the 2011 World Cup campaign against Zimbabwe.

He and opening partner Upul Tharanga produced the second highest 1st wicket partnership in ODIs at the time (now the seventh highest) with a 282-run stand for the 1st wicket. Dilshan was the aggressor of the partnership, making 144 off 131 balls.

His contributions didn’t end after the 1st innings as the all-rounder picked up 4 wickets to finish off a 139-run victory for Sri Lanka, becoming only the 2nd Sri Lankan to achieve the double of a century and 4-wicket haul in an ODI (11th overall).

Unfortunately, Dilshan missed out on a hat-trick in this game as Mahela Jayawardene missed a low slip catch off Graeme Cremer’s bat. If the opportunity had been taken, it would have been the first instance of a player achieving the double of a century and a hat-trick in a List-A match.

108* vs England | 2011, RPS

TM Dilshan and his opening partner Upul Tharanga combined for another double century partnership in the crucial quarter-final fixture of the 2011 World Cup against England, chasing down 231 with ease at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.

Dilshan again top-scored for Sri Lanka with an unbeaten 108, leading Sri Lanka to a huge 10-wicket victory.

Dilshan and Tharanga made easy work of the chase of 230 in what could have been a tricky chase under lights in front of a full-packed home crowd.

Dilshan was named as the player of the quarter-final for his brilliant century, making it his 2nd player of the match performance in a World Cup knockout fixture.

4 Runouts vs Australia | 2006, Adelaide

In the first of three finals of the VB Series in 2006, TM Dilshan managed to guide a Sri Lankan triumph against the mighty Aussies in the most unlikeliest way.

His heroics in the field caused 4 runouts, helping dismiss the big fish; Simon Katich, Ricky Ponting, Damien Martyn and Mike Hussey, putting the brakes on the Australian chase.

He also contributed with a catch, making this a rare case of a fielder (excluding wicket keepers) contributing to 5 dismissals in an ODI.

 Sri Lanka won the game by 22 runs but lost the next 2 finals, failing to win the series.

123 vs India | 2009 at Nagpur

Chasing 302 set by the Indians at Nagpur, Dilshan played one of his best innings in 2009, compiling a rapid knock of 123 off 113 balls.

It was the 2nd century in a row for Dilshan after the 1st century (160) at Rajkot resulted in a loss. He made sure to guide Sri Lanka to a comfortable 3 wicket win after the devastating loss in the 1st ODI of the series (Chasing 414).

This was only the 5th successful 300+ chase in Sri Lanka’s ODI history and 8th time Sri Lanka passed the 300-mark in chasing in an ODI.

160 India | 2009 at Rajkot

The 1st ODI of the 5-match ODI series between Sri Lanka and India was one of the most memorable contests between the two rivals in recent history.

Chasing a mammoth 414 by India, Sri Lanka fell short of just 3 runs in a heart-breaking loss at Rajkot. Dilshan was the top scorer for Sri Lanka with 160 off 124 balls, setting the perfect foundation for the chase.

Tharanga and he added 188 runs in 24 overs but the middle order batsmen failed to carry the momentum after the top 3 were dismissed.

Dilshan’s innings became the 2nd highest ODI innings score in a losing cause while chasing then (Now the 4th highest) and he later became the only Sri Lankan player to score three 160+ scores in ODIs.

Read Also – The Untameable Dilshan

In T20Is

83* vs Afghanistan | 2016, Kolkata

This is somewhat of a forgotten knock in Dilshan’s career but a gem of an innings regardless of the opposition.

Sri Lanka were chasing 154 set by Afghanistan and the chase was falling apart from one end but Dilshan, almost in the twilight of his cricketing career, played a brilliant hand, taking Sri Lanka to a comfortable victory.

It was the only win for Sri Lanka in the 2016 T20 World Cup and things could have been rather unpleasant if not for Dilshan’s unbeaten 83.

96* vs West Indies | 2009, The Oval

The 2009 ICC T20 World Cup campaign in England was one of the near perfect tournaments for Sri Lanka, barring the failure at the all-important final against Pakistan at Lord’s.

One of the main reasons for Sri Lanka’s success in the tournament was their opener, TM Dilshan’s heroics with the bat as he topped the batting charts with 317 runs at 52.83.

He saved his best showing in the World Cup for the semi-final against West Indies as he bludgeoned an unbeaten 96 off just 57 balls, taking Sri Lanka to a defendable total against the all-star Caribbean attack.

Sri Lanka won the game and Dilshan was named Player of the Semifinal and was nominated as the Most Valuable Player of the Tournament as well.

104* vs Australia | 2011, Pallekele

The visiting Australians were hit by a storm at the Pallekele International Stadium courtesy of Dilshan’s pyrotechnics as the all-rounder overpowered the tourists with a brilliant century.

He smashed the Lee-Johnson-Hasting pace attack to all parts of the ground, taking Sri Lanka to 198. Dilshan used the short boundaries at Pallekele to his advantage and hit 12 boundaries and 5 sixes.

He needed 16 more runs to complete his century in the last over of the innings bowled by Mitchell Johnson and managed to sneak 20 runs instead. He played his trademark ‘dilscoop’ over Brad Haddin to reach his century while the Pallekele ground resonated with the chant of “DILSHAN”, “DILSHAN”, “DILSHAN”.

This is only the 2nd T20I century by a Sri Lankan – no other player has been able to achieve this feat since.

Have we missed out on any memorable performances? Tell us your favourite Dilshan memories in the comments section below.

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