Following Sri Lanka’s applaudable bowling performance to limit Bangladesh to 238, Aviska Fernando dispelled any hopes the visitors may have haboured of squaring the 3-match series with a masterly knock of 82 that set the stage for a successful run chase, enabling the hosts to registered a 7-wicket victory and seal the series 2-0 with one match to go in the second ODI played at the R. Premadasa Stadium yesterday.
The result also ended a 44-month drought in which Sri Lanka failed to win a single series at home.
Fernando’s array of hooks and pulls included two sixes and nine fours in his 75-delivery 82 which his father, who had been watching from the stands, did not have the good fortune to witness: as he collapsed suddenly during the first half of the match and had to be transferred to hospital, where he was pronounced out of danger.
Bangladesh may have entertained hopes for a low-scoring thriller, but Fernando took charge early on to share an opening stand of 71 in 11.3 overs with skipper Dimuth Karunarathne, whose contribution was 15 with young Avishka dominating the partnership. He was then joined by Kusal Perera (30) and the pair added another 58 runs for the second wicket, the winds of fortune blowing only in one direction.
Following the dismissal of Perera and Fernando, Kusal Mendis (41 n.o.) and former skipper Angelo Mathews (52 n.o.) took their time to get going, but ensured the home team’s total dominance of proceedings in an unbroken 96-run partnership off 20 overs that saw Sri Lanka cruise past the Bangladesh total with more than five overs to spare.
Earlier, Sri Lanka had Bangladesh hooked, reeling with six wickets down for 117 in the 32nd over, and the visitors seemed headed for a quick defeat; but former skipper Mushfiqur Rahim kept on fighting with an unbeaten 98 to lead the Bangladesh recovery, helping them reach 238 for 8 wickets in their 50 overs.
Sri Lanka did not have the luxury of Lasith Malinga to provide an early breakthrough, but Nuwan Pradeep was quick to fill his shoes as he removed Soumya Sarkar (11) in the sixth over. Skipper Tamim Iqbal (19) went next, bowled through an inside edge by Isuru Udana.
He was soon followed by Mohommed Mithun (12) when Akila Dhananjaya, making a comeback after being dropped for the World Cup, had him caught by Kusal Mendis at midwicket with his second delivery; and Mahamudullah fell victim to Dhananjaya as well, bowled out for just 6.
Sri Lanka was on song in the fielding department as well, saving every run possible, and had their efforts rewarded when Sabbir Rahman (11) was run out through an excellent throw in from Dhananjaya de Silva off Akila Dhananjaya.
The wickets kept falling as Mosaddek Hossain was caught behind for 13 off Isuru Udana, and with Akila bowling his ten overs for just 39 with two wickets and Dhananjaya de Silva also giving away exactly the same number of runs in his ten, Bangladesh was in dire straits.
But then Mushfiqur Rahim, who was desperately seeking support from the other end, was solidly backed by Mehidy Hasan Miraz who made 43 off 49 as the pair added 84 valuable runs in a seventh wicket stand that had Sri Lanka desperate to stifle the tail-enders.
Finally it was Nuwan Pradeep who broke the partnership by claiming Miraz’s scalp’; yet Rahim continued to take charge of the game and added another 30 runs to take Bangladesh to a fairly challenging total on a tricky pitch.
The hosts came into the match with two changes in their lineup, Isuru Udana and Akila Dhananjaya replacing Thisara Perera and much-missed Malinga. (Pix by Tharaka Basnayaka)
- T. Iqbal (c) b I.Udana19
- S. Sarkar lbw Fernando11
- M.M. Ali c Mendis b Perera12
- M. Rahim Not out98
- M. Mahmudullah b Perera6
- M.S. Rahman run out (de Silva)11
- M.H. Saikat c Perera b I.Udana13
- M.H. Miraz c Karunaratne b Fernando43
- T. Islam run out3
- M. Rahman Not out2
- Extras: 1nb, 12w, 3b, 4lb20
- Total: 50.0 Overs, 8 wkts238
- Fall of wickets: 1-26 (Soumya Sarkar), 2-31 (Tamim Iqbal), 3-52 (Mohammad Mithun), 4-68 (Mahmudullah), 5-88 (Sabbir Rahman), 6-117 (Mosaddek Hossain), 7-201 (Mehidy Hasan), 8-231 (Taijul Islam)
Bowling: Akhila Dananjaya 39-2, N. Pradeep 53-2, Udana 58-2
- W.I.A. Fernando c Iqbal b Rahman82
- F.D.M. Karunaratne (c) b Miraz15
- M.D.K.J. Perera c Sarkar b Rahman30
- B.K.G. Mendis Not out41
- A.D. Mathews Not out52
- Extras:1nb, 12w, 4b, 5lb 22
- Total:44.4 Overs, 3 wkts 242
- Fall of wickets: 1-71 (Dimuth Karunaratne), 2-129 (Avishka Fernando), 3-146 (Kusal Perera)
- Bowling: Mustafizur Rahman 50-2, Mehidy Hasan 51-1