Dilshan prospers alongside Jayawardene

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Opener Tillakaratne Dilshan appreciated a formidable alliance with former captain Mahela Jayawardene, which carried Sri Lanka to a 36-run win over Sri Lanka in Saturday's rain-affected third and final ODI in Dambulla.

Opener Tillakaratne Dilshan appreciated a formidable alliance with former captain Mahela Jayawardene, which carried Sri Lanka to a 36-run win over Sri Lanka in Saturday's rain-affected third and final ODI in Dambulla.

Inclement weather reduced the hosts' innings to a mere 33 overs, with a final total of 211 for eight accrued on the back of Dilshan and Jayawardene's dominance at the top of the order.

The pair shared a brisk 91-run stand inside 15 overs, with Jayawardene scoring 46 and Dilshan 53, gathering all of 16 boundaries between them. The Kiwis' response was insufficient, amounting to 126 for six in 25 overs before bad light closed proceedings.

"It's easier for me to bat with Mahela because he is a very experienced cricketer and sometimes he guides me as well. It's not the same when batting with a youngster," said Dilshan.

"I have no particular liking for an opening partner but to be honest, it's easier batting with Mahela. I got stuck but Mahela came and hit a couple of boundaries to put the pressure on bowlers."

Captain Angelo Mathews backed the decision to drop opener Dimuth Karunaratne and promote Jayawardene from the middle order, which allowed the left-handed Lahiru Thirimanne and the hard-hitting Dinesh Chandimal to push for prominence.

"We thought to open with Mahela and Dilshan to give the opportunity to Thirimanne and Chandimal, because they've been bating at number six and seven," added Mathews.

"I think those are not ideal positions for them to bat. They should get more opportunity batting in the middle order. When the senior guys retire, one day, they can hold the team together."

The Sri Lankans and Black Caps will conclude the tour with a two-match Twenty20 International series at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy next week.

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