4 January 2010
Sri Lanka made a winning start in the tri-nation ODI series as they outplayed Bangladesh by 7 wickets in the first ODI of the decade at Mirpur Sher E Bangla Stadium in Mirpur today. Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to bowl first on a batting friendly surface. Bangladesh managed to post 260 for 7 in 50 overs after a middle order wobble, but it wasn't enough to contain a dominant Sri Lanka who raced to victory with more than 5 overs to spare.
After a successful 2009, Sri Lankan opener Tilekaratne Dilshan started 2010 in some style as he hammered the first ODI ton (104) of the decade with the help of 12 boundaries. Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara also chipped in with a fluent 74 from 73 deliveries before becoming the debut wicket of Shafiul Islam who otherwise produced a lacklustre performance. Sri Lanka lost Dilshan on 242 when the match was all but over. Samaraweera and Chamara Silva completed the formality without much trouble. Samaraweera remained not out on 41 from 54 deliveries.
It was baffling to see the lifeless batting friendly surface prepared for the opening match of the Tri-nation series when the strength of host Bangladesh is in their spin bowling department. Sri Lanka top order batsmen comfortably negotiated Bangladesh attack which looked average on an unfriendly wicket. Evening dew didn't help Bangladeshâ€™s cause either as spinners, Bangladesh's main strength, struggled with their grip on wet and heavy ball.
Earlier, sent to bat by Sri Lanka, Bangladesh made a positive start as openers Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes posted 65 runs in 12 overs. However, like many previous occasions, suicidal shots by Bangladeshi batsmen soon caused their downfall and Bangladesh were reduced from 65 for 0 to 74 for 4 in space of 4 overs. Imrul Kayes was first to go after his attempt to pull Kulasekera could only reached as far as square leg to find the waiting hands of Samaraweera.
Tamim soon followed his partner when he tried to hit Dilshan out of the ground after hitting a boundary in the previous delivery. His wild hoick was gladly accepted by Suranga Lakmal at midwicket. When Roqibul edged a rising delivery from Lakmal to Samaraweera, the expectation was on Shakib Al Hasan to rescue Bangladesh.
Bangladesh skipper who enjoyed a phenomenal rise to the top in 2009 could not start 2010 well enough as his flashy drive was brilliantly taken by a diving Welegedara at deep backward point. Shakib trudged back to the pavilion leaving Bangladesh on 74 for 4 with the prospect of a complete collapse on a good batting surface.
However, a calm and assuring Mohammad Ashraful prevented the collapse and held the Bangladesh innings together on his way to a patient 75 from 94 deliveries. He found willing support from Mushfiqur Rahim, who was wrongly given out LBW by local umpire Enamul Haque, and rescued Bangladesh to 132 for 4.
Mahmudullah joined Ashraful after the departure of Rahim and the pair revived Bangladesh with a 95 run 6th wicket partnership. Mahmudullah scored a breezy 45 from 47 deliveries with the help of 3 boundaries and a huge six.
Bangladesh made good use of the batting power play by scoring 43 runs, but it was the power hitting of Neem Islam which propelled Bangladesh to 260. Naeem battered Suranga Lakmal the final over of Bangladesh innings and scored 20 runs from it with the help of two sixes and a boundary.
Bulletin by Khondaker Mirazur Rahman