HOVE  - Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kithuruwan Vithanage powered Sri Lanka to a 10-wicket win over Sussex in their Twenty20 tour match as they chased down 127 in just 9.1 overs at Hove. The home side’s 126 for seven, anchored by 63 from Matt Machan, was never likely to provide too stiff a task for the world champions but they could not have expected to be blown away in such fashion. Dilshan scored 73 off just 31 balls with 16 fours while Vithanage contributed 52 off 24 deliveries with five sixes.
Sussex got off to a brisk start after winning the toss and were 25 without loss after three overs but Luke Wells (11) was the first man to go as he got a leading edge off Lasith Malinga and Dilshan claimed the catch. That brought Michael Yardy to the crease and he helped the Sharks reach a rather pedestrian 60 for one at the halfway stage but he also fell for 11, caught in the deep by Suranga Lakmal off Ajantha Mendis.
Rory Hamilton-Brown lasted just three balls before nicking Thisara Perera to Dinesh Chandimal and at that stage Sussex were 67 for three. Ben Brown helped Machan, who brought up his 50 with a huge six, steady the ship but the scoring-rate was still slow and the former was gone for 14 in the 17th over. The wicketkeeper was dropped by Lahiru Thirimanne but fell the very next ball when he top-edged Malinga to Sachithra Senanayake.
That prompted a late flurry of wickets and Machan’s 45-ball effort was ended as he found Lakmal off the bowling of Perera.
Steffan Piolet was then bowled by Lakmal in the final over before Will Beer was run out as Sussex posted a total which always looked chasable. And Sri Lanka wasted no time in setting about their task, with Vithanage launching a six and a four in the first over before Dilshan hit four consecutive boundaries in the second. Two further Dilshan boundaries opened the next and Vithanage clobbered three consecutive big sixes as Sri Lanka reached 63 without loss in just four overs.
Dilshan brought up his fifty with a four in a sixth over that cost 16 runs and the boundaries kept coming with the tourists bringing up their 100 inside seven overs. A single in the ninth brought Vithanage his 50 in just 22 balls and Dilshan sealed an emphatic victory with a four soon after.
BRIEF SCORES: Sussex 126.7 in 20 overs (Matt Machan 63, Lasith Malinga 2/20, Thisara Perera 2/13) lost to Sri Lanka 128/0 in 9.1 overs (Kithuruwan Vithana 52*, Tillakaratne Dilshan 73*) by 10 wickets.