Wanidu Hasaranga De Silva: The Schoolboy Who Took A Hat-Trick

Sri Lanka's all-rounder Wanidu Hasaranga de Silva rewrote record books by becoming the first Sri Lankan to take a hat-trick on debut during the second ODI against Zimbabwe in Galle on Sunday. Only Kagiso Rabada and Taijul Islam have taken hat-tricks on their debuts.

De Silva hails from Richmond College, Galle's most popular school that has produced several Sri Lankan cricketers including Champaka Ramanayake, Suranga Lakmal and Dananjaya de Silva. De Silva is 19 and will sit for the GCE A/L exam in August this year in the Commerce Stream. His elder brother Chaturanga has already represented Sri Lanka in seven ODIs.

Considered the best fielder in Sri Lanka, the leg-spinning all-rounder was preferred over several others due to the team's poor fielding standards that has cost them dearly in recent times. It was a huge moment for young De Silva to make his debut at his hometown and to pick up a hat-trick was fairytale stuff. He became the fifth Sri Lankan after Chaminda Vaas, Lasith Malinga, Farveez Maharoof and Thisara Perera to claim a hat-trick in ODIs.

Operating from the Dutch Fort End, De Silva ended Malcolm Waller's aggressive knock of 38 when he bowled him off an inside edge. Donald Tiripano was trapped leg before wicket as he played expecting the ball to turn and failed to detect the wrong 'un. The googly again did the trick for last man Tendai Chatara, who was bowled as Zimbabwe were shot out for 155 in 34 overs.

De Silva's school coach Dhammika Sudarshana, an opening batsman who represented Sri Lanka 'A' called him a crafty cricketer. He is his second product to the senior team with Dananjaya de Silva being the first. One of Sudarshana's charges - Charith Asalanka - captained Sri Lanka in the last Under-19 World Cup while Kamindu Mendis, yet another of his products, will lead the team in the next World Cup.

De Silva was a fast bowler initially. While playing for Under-17 side, Sudarshana decided that he should shift to leg-spin bowling.

"We try various things at training you see. We knew the potential was there so we gave it a shot. Then later on, with his body structure, we decided that he will be ideal for spin bowling," Sudarshana a popular cricket coach in Sri Lanka told Cricbuzz.

De Silva posses excellent timing and he is a very good player of spin bowling with the ability to clear the boundary, hallmarks that Sri Lanka are looking for moving forward as their middle order lacks power hitters.

In 12 First Class games, De Silva averages 45 with the bat and 24 with the ball, but it's in List 'A' cricket that he has been extremely effective, averaging 13 with the ball.

"One thing that you are sure to get with Wanidu is accuracy. Bad balls will be few and rare. That's for sure. He is a smart man too and often wins the mind games with the batsmen," Sudarshana said.

Sri Lanka's Cricket Manger and National Selector Asanka Gurusinha paid young De Silva a huge complement when he called him the best fielder in the country. No doubt then the selectors pushed for him so hard as the Sri Lankans have dropped as many as six catches in the last two games.

De Silva has tremendous potential and the start only underlines that. Sri Lanka will hope their young star carries on to greater things.


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