Congenige Randhi Dilhara Fernando, popularly known as Dilhara Fernando was born on this day in 1979, Colombo, Sri Lanka. He started off as a basketball player during school days, but after being identified by his college coach for his height and build, Fernando caught everyone’s eye and has never looked back ever since. The veteran pacer quickly became part of Sri Lanka’s Under-19 squads with his unsettling pace. After toiling for two years in the domestic circuit, the right-handed bowler earned a national call-up and made his Test debut against Pakistan in 2000. The following year he made his ODI debut against South Africa.
Capable of swinging the ball both ways at good pace and he is best known for his rare technique of bowling the slower ball. His well-disguised slower ball was very difficult to pick as the delivery action looked the same. The fast bowler has so far picked 100 wickets in 40 Tests and 187 wickets from 147 ODIs. He has represented the Islanders in just 18 T20Is, picking up the 18 wickets. Fernando’s career has been plagued by injuries throughout, it was further compounded with inconsistent line and length, costing him a spot in the side.
As the veteran pacer celebrates his day, we take a look some of his impressive spells:
5/42 vs India - 1st Test, 2001: An inspired spell of fast bowling by Fernando had the visitors on the back foot after a bright start by the top order. He returned with figures of 5/42, while compatriot Muttaiah Muralitharan chipped with three wickets in the first innings and fifer in the second innings to hand their side a 10-wicket victory.
7/95 vs Bangladesh - 2nd Test, 2005: After the hosts posted 431 runs in their first innings, Fernando picked five-wickets in the first innings which helped them to restrict their Asian neighbours to 157. Bangladesh’s follow-on effort was a similar effort as they were bundled for 181-runs. Fernando pitched with two wickets, to help his side win the match by an innings and 69 runs.
3/19 vs Bangladesh - 3rd ODI, 2005: In the third ODI at Colombo, Fernando bowled eight overs, out of which one was maiden and picked three wickets, while giving away just 19 runs to restrict Bangladesh at 108-runs. The Islanders chased the total under 21 overs and won the match by six wickets (D/L method).
3/19 vs New Zealand - 2nd T20I, 2006: After his side bundled out for a mere 115-runs by the Kiwis. Fernando was the only bowler in the Lankan arsenal to pick any wickets, he bagged three while giving away 19 runs, but made their chase a stumbling effort. New Zealand eventually won the match by five wickets and nine balls remaining.
6/27 vs England - 5th ODI, 2007: Defending a mere total of 211-runs, Fernando starred in his side’s 107-run victory in the final ODI against England at Colombo. He ripped through the English line-up, taking six wickets leaking just 27-runs. It is considered his best till date.