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Birthday special: Kusal Perera – Top three knocks in international cricket

Kusal Perera is probably one of the best batters to come out of Sri Lanka among the current generation. He has already spent around eight to nine years playing for the Sri Lankan national team. He is celebrating his 31st birthday today. As he enters into the second half of his international career, Sri Lankan cricket fans will expect that he will add a lot more to his tally of more than 5,000 runs for the national team. On his birthday, we are looking back at three of his best knocks for Sri Lanka:

3. 77 in a losing cause in a run-fest at Indore against India.

There is not a lot left to be done if your team is chasing 260 runs in 20 overs. When Kusal Perera walked to bat, Sri Lanka needed 225 runs from 87 balls. Despite an improbable scenario, Perera put all his efforts and decided to go down fighting. He smashed 77 runs from 37 balls in a knock with seven sixes and four fours. The run chase was always going to be difficult for Sri Lanka but at least his knock was the silver lining for them, in what was otherwise a one-sided affair.

2. A blistering run-chase in an ODI against Pakistan

2015 was the year from when the slide of Sri Lankan cricket started happening. After the World Cup, when they faced Pakistan in a home series, one of the matches in Pallekele saw a ‘Kusal Perera special’. Chasing 288 runs when Sri Lanka came out to bat, Perera blasted 68 runs from 25 balls. By the time he was gone, the hosts were 92 for 1 in 8.2 overs. His knock laid the foundation on which the Sri Lankans capitalized and ended up chasing a total with 11 balls and two wickets to spare.

1. The heist at Durban against South Africa

In February 2019 when Sri Lanka arrived in South Africa, they had a new captain, a team without Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Matthews and a Kusal Perera who was fighting for the second coming of his Test career. The hosts set a target of 304 runs for Sri Lanka to win the first Test. The southpaw came to bat at 52 for 3.

Along with his positive and naturally aggressive batting his side reached beyond 200. But by 226 runs, nine wickets had fallen down. Perera’s 153 runs from just 200 balls, helped Sri Lanka win the match. He was involved in a last-wicket partnership of 78 runs with Vishwa Fernando, who made only six runs. His knock was rated second-best Test innings of the decade by Wisden that year.

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