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Hasaranga takes 7-19 as Sri Lanka crush Zimbabwe to win ODI series

COLOMBO – Sri Lankan leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga made a stunning return to international cricket with a career-best 7-19 to guide his side to an eight-wicket win against Zimbabwe and clinch a 2-0 ODI series win Thursday in Colombo.

In a game cut to 27 overs a side by two downpours, Sri Lanka’s star bowler, in his first match after a six-month hamstring injury absence, skittled the tourists for just 96.

“It’s been a long break,” he told reporters afterwards. “It’s hard work to come back to the side and (I am) very pleased with the effort.”

Sri Lanka knocked off the runs inside 17 overs with Kusal Mendis making the lion’s share with an unbeaten 66 from 51 balls.

Zimbabwe had got off to a good start reaching 43 for no loss but the introduction of Hasaranga proved disastrous for the visitors.

Hasaranga’s googly had three wickets by the end of his second over with Zimbabwe slumping to 47-3, ultimately losing four batters trapped leg before wicket.

“The guys showed a lot of fight in the series,” said Zimbabwe skipper Craig Ervine.

“(It) Didn’t go well today, although we started off well before the rain break,” he added.

“Our options against spin were limited. That’s something we will take out of this series.”

Hasaranga’s fourth five-wicket haul is a new record for R. Premadasa Stadium, eclipsing Angelo Mathews’ 6-20 against India in 2009.

It was also the second best ODI figures by a Sri Lankan bowler behind 8-19 by Chaminda Vaas, also against Zimbabwe in 2001.

Hasaranga, who will captain Sri Lanka in the T20 series to follow, received a standing ovation as he walked off the field.

“I am not a records man but (it’s) great to have… and it helps the team win,” Hasaranga said.

“This is a good morale boost for us ahead of a busy season.”

Opener Joylord Gumbie top-scored for the visitors with 29.

Skipper Mendis made a 73-run stand for the second wicket alongside debutant Shevon Daniel (12) as the hosts cruised to a comfortable win with 62 deliveries to spare.

“It’s my first series win and it feels good,” Mendis said.

“I’ve been getting lots of support from my seniors. Hopefully we can build from here.”

The first match in the series was washed out due to rain while the hosts secured a hard-fought two-wicket win in the second.

A three-match T20 series begins on Sunday with Colombo again hosting all games.