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The Report by Andrew Fidel Fernando in Mirpur
January 27, 2014
Sri Lanka 60 for 0 trail Bangladesh 232 (Rahim 61, Eranga 4-49, Lakmal 3-66) by 172 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
If Sri Lanka arrived in Bangladesh having freshly learned about the perils of negative cricket in Sharjah, their hosts illustrated there is also danger in aggression. Having been asked to bat, Bangladesh lost their top four to intense seam-bowling before lunch, and though they mustered a better middle session through a rapid Shakib Al Hasan riposte and a more measured Mushfiqur Rahim resistance, callousness marked the tail-end of their surrender for 232 as well.
Five of Bangladesh's top eight had perished trying to take the bowlers on, when perhaps some circumspection was warranted on a Mirpur pitch that rewarded fast bowling more than usual. When Shakib and Mushfiqur had asked for a sporting surface before the game, they perhaps did not envision the frailty of their team's batting in such conditions would be so markedly exposed. By stumps, the Sri Lanka openers had trod a more secure path to 60.
Shaminda Eranga provided more proof of his ample potential as he led the Sri Lanka attack in spirit and method, bruising Bangladesh with a brace of sharp, short balls. His returns of 4 for 49 were the best in the innings and indeed, a statistical best for himself. Suranga Lakmal found success in imitating Eranga's preferred length in the innings, taking 3 for 66, while the spinners and Angelo Mathews provided able assistance, sharing three wickets between them.
Eranga had bowled balls moving both ways off the seam in the morning, but after his first bouncer leapt up to shoulder-height, he rarely let an over pass without aiming several at the body and the head. He should have had Tamim Iqbal for 6 in his fourth over, but Kaushal Silva at short-leg fumbled the take. He did not have to wait long, however. Next over Eranga baited Tamim into a hook and, failing to control the ball which had reached him at above head height, Tamim sent it off the top-edge to fine leg.
His next victim did not fall to a short ball, but perhaps the shot Shamsur Rahman played, to end a bright but streaky debut innings of 33, was a knock-on effect of the short barrage. Having ducked or weaved around several short ones in the over, Shamsur drove at one that was swinging away from him, and was caught by gully. At the other end, Angelo Mathews had nailed Marshall Ayub with an in-ducker, before Lakmal got Mominul Haque - also with a short ball - to have Bangladesh at 59 for 4.
Though they were on the ropes after the first session, Shakib thought his team would punch their way out of it. He dealt with the pace of the pitch and Sri Lanka's short balls better than anyone, murdering three off them to the square-leg fence. His audacity almost cost him his wicket three times but Shakib did not see it as cause to temper his advance, nor did it encourage Sri Lanka to press for his wicket. They put men back on the square fence and waited for his mistake, and it came after he had crossed 50. Rangana Herath - Sri Lanka's most expensive bowler of the day - beat Shakib's ambitious sweep with one that dipped and straightened.
Mushfiqur's progress was steadier and more secure. He fended away the short stuff and met moving deliveries with a dead bat, but as the pace in the pitch rewarded stroke-making as well, he was quick to climb into balls he fancied - particularly wide of offstump. Unsurprisingly, he also made the top score of 61, and was perhaps unlucky to be dismissed. Lakmal got one to move into him appreciably after tea, but the dual noise in the replay and Mushfiqur's surprise upon seeing the umpire's raised finger suggested he might have got an inside edge to the ball that struck him on the thigh.
The Sri Lanka spinners also found some assistance, but they were prevented from settling into a rhythm by Bangladesh's enterprising batting. Both Shakib and Sohag Gazi used their feet to Dilruwan Perera, and walloped him towards the sightscreen. Gazi's 42 from 56 effectively epitomised the Bangladesh batting effort: promising and fun to watch, but of no great substance in the end.
Eranga was most pumped up when he had Nasir Hossain leaping with an arched back, as the batsman attempted to avoid another bouncer and the ball clipped glove on the way through. Eranga came back to end the innings with a deserved fourth wicket.
Kaushal Silva and Dimuth Karunaratne had no major scares during their 19-over unbroken association. Opening bowlers Robiul Islam and Al-Amin Hossain were doughty, but unthreatening, failing to generate anywhere near the pace or lift Eranga had managed. Bangladesh's spinners looked more likely to make a breakthrough, particularly when Gazi was bowling to Karunaratne, but Sri Lanka were happy to head off five overs early when the light depleted, only 172 adrift of their opposition.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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