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Dashing Dilshan makes instant impact

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Tillakaratne Dilshan

Tillakaratne Dilshan responded to Andrew Strauss' 151 with a century of his own as Sri Lanka showcased their batting potency

Tillakaratne Dilshan announced his arrival as Sri Lanka's new captain by hitting 123 off 134 balls in their opening tour game against Middlesex at Uxbridge.

Tharanga Paranavitana, who joined Dilshan in an opening partnership of 209 - the highest for any touring team against Middlesex - went on to make 103 before he joined the skipper in retiring to give other batsman a chance to impress.

Lahiru Thirimanne and Dinesh Chandimal added an unbroken 59-run partnership to take the Sri Lankans to 309 for two declared.

Dilshan, who flew in from the Indian Premier League only three days ago, delivered a particularly impressive performance, having seen England captain Andrew Strauss make 151 yesterday on his first appearance of the season for Middlesex.

Dilshan was dropped on 10 by Jamie Dalrymple, low down at second slip off Anthony Ireland, and again on 114 by Strauss, diving to his right at point.

But between those chances he played some magnificent shots, bringing him 14 fours and a six which was driven a long way back over Tom Smith's head.

He was also severe against Gurjit Sandhu, a 19-year-old left-arm seamer making his first-class debut, cutting him for three fours in his first over and driving through the covers to go to his hundred.

Paranavitana, a left-hander who is expected to open with Dilshan in the first npower Test against England at Cardiff starting on May 26, was more sedate but struck 15 fours on his way to a hundred from 145 balls.

Thirimanne and Chandimal, who could be competing for the number six position in the Test side, also played well and, when Middlesex went in again 51 runs ahead, Suranga Lakmal picked up a wicket when Sam Robson played on. They reached the close on 26 for one.

Earlier, Middlesex, resuming on 321 for five, added 39 in seven overs before declaring on 360 for eight after 100 overs.

There were two wickets for Chanaka Welegedara, the left-arm seamer who will probably share the new ball with Dilhara Fernando in the Test attack, and a second for Ajantha Mendis, the spinner who has had a chastening start to his English summer.

Welegedara had Dawid Malan taken at mid-on and Tom Smith caught behind, while Mendis had Ireland well held by Thilan Samaraweera on the midwicket boundary.

Mendis, who took a combined 4-285 in two championship matches for Somerset before dropping out of the side with a back strain, finished with 2-83 from 20 overs.

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