Sri Lanka canter to an easy win over Bangladesh
by Rohit Sakunia

Ground:Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur
Scorecard:Bangladesh v Sri Lanka
Player:KC Sangakkara, TM Dilshan, Mohammad Ashraful, Mahmudullah

DateLine: 4th January 2010


Tillakaratne Dilshan continued from where he left off in 2009 as he began the year 2010 with a bang. The belligerent right-hander made a stroke-filled 104 as the Lankan side rode on the back of his knock to an easy win. Chasing a stiff target of 261 Dilshan was on fire from ball number one and with dew on the ground the Bangladeshi bowlers were handicapped to a great extent as Sri Lanka did not find the target stiff.


Batting first after losing the toss, Bangladesh openers started on a more than decent note adding 65 runs for the first wicket. It was after this that a known weakness returned to haunt them. They once again could not sustain command of the game for longer period. The score went from 65 for 0 to 74 for 4 mainly due to some poor batting.


Imrul Kayes fetched a short delivery from Nuwan Kulasekara and top edged to Thilan Samaraweera running forward from fine leg. On the other end, Tamim till now had batted with supreme confidence and surety. He looked a certainty for a half century but the left-hander also perished to a reckless shot, miscuing a loft to mid-off of the bowling of Dilshan. It was then that a sensible batting display by Mohammad Ashraful, a man who has now been rebuffed time and again for not doing any justice to his talent, alongside some good effort by others in the middle order made sure the hosts had a respectable total on board. Ashraful played a workmanlike knock as most of the fireworks were reserved for the end overs, when the batting Powerplay was taken.


The hosts were reduced to 74/4 in the 17th over and it was from here that Ashraful and Mushfiqur Rahim took over. Ashraful, who is generally a free flowing player had to let his guard down and look for the singles. The pair added 58-runs for the fifth wicket, tapping the ball within the infield and putting pressure on the fielders. Just when Rahim looked set for a fifty, he was trapped lbw while trying to sweep Suraj Randiv. Ashraful continued to be the accumulator as this time the replacement batsman Mahmudullah, looked a tad more aggressive.


Slowly, Ashraful also changed gears as the end overs closed in. Both the batsmen combined to pick up 15 from one Lakmal over, which included a pull to square leg, which brought up Ashraful's fifty. Then came the powerplays, something which the Bangladeshis badly needed. The hosts picked up 43 runs in the passage and it was during this stage that Mahmudullah brought up the first six of the innings, a slog over deep square leg. He was then trapped in front trying to sweep Randiv. The entertainment though didn't stop at the fall of wickets as in the final over of the innings Naeem Islam ramshackled Lakmal for two sixes and a four in an over that cost 20 runs as Bangladesh pushed towards a competitive total of 260.


Sri Lanka in reply got of to a robust start as Upul Tharanga and Dilshan put the Bangladeshi bowlers to the sword. Shafiul Islam and Rubel Hossain were unable to contain the opening batsmen as the pair put on 35 in 3.5 overs before a lapse in concentration ended Tharanga's innings. The hosts could have had the Lankans on the mat had Shafiul Islam held onto a return catch from Dilshan when the batsman was on 15 and the belligerent right-hander made the hosts pay for the missed chance. Witnessing from mid-on as his bowlers were pasted to different corners of the ground Shakib brought himself on in the seventh over of the innings but to no avail.


By the ninth over the bowlers and the fielders were busy wiping the dew off the ball as the bowlers were finding it hard to grip the ball. Once the mandatory powerplay was done and dusted the hosts did not opt for the bowling powerplay as they had control the flow of runs. The bowlers struggled to contain the two free-flowing batsmen, Dilshan and Sangakkara, as the duo found the boundaries regularly. Soon it was the race between the two batsmen as to who would cross the fifty run mark and with every boundary they collected the home crowd's voice began to go down. Dilshan reached his fifty in 63 balls while Sangakkara brought up his fifty in mere 49 balls.


Dilshan again survived a chance when Shakib could not latch onto a return catch from the batsmen. Sangakkara was in a sublime touch and was on course for a century when the skipper misjudged the bounce that Shafiul Islam and edged behind. Dilshan got to his eleventh century of his career in 119 balls before being dismissed when Naeem Islam took a leaping catch to terminate his innings. Thilan Samaraweera in the company of Chamara Silva got the Lankan side across the target with 5.1 overs to spare.


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