Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, 1st ODI, Mirpur February 16, 2014

Handling big moments will be the key - Mathews

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews has said, ahead of the first ODI against Bangladesh in Mirpur, handling the big moments will be key for both sides. Mathews is aware of the home side's preference towards the limited-overs format, but he doesn't think the momentum is far from his team's grasp.

Bangladesh pushed the visitors till the last ball in both Twenty20s in Chittagong over the weekend, but couldn't quite finish the job. Apart from keeping them alert, Sri Lanka will also remember they were on the losing side the last time they played Bangladesh.

"I think we have to be positive, hang in there through tough periods, just as we had done in the Twenty20s," Mathews said. "Each individual has to play their part. I think handling the situation is going to be the key.

"I thought it was a hard-fought couple of wins for us. It wasn't easy at all for us, as I said, they are going to come hard at us. They are going to be very strong in the ODIs and T20s. We hope the guys will keep the momentum and go forward in the ODIs. Hopefully the weather stays away and we get a good game in our hands."

Sri Lanka are without Mahela Jayawardene but still have enough firepower in their openers, No. 3 and the young batsmen to put pressure on their opponents. Ashan Priyanjan made 74 against Pakistan in December while Angelo Perera, despite his poor shot in the second Twenty20 in Chittagong, made 244 recently in a first-class match.

Then there is Kithuruwan Vithanage who made a century in the first Test in Dhaka last month, and will be expected to play a role with his legspin too. Mathews is not entirely sure who among these will play, but he has said there is no room to experiment and that they will pick the best line-up available.

"Obviously we have got two seniors in the team but we don't have Mahela who has been rested," Mathews said. "We got a few exciting players who played in the Pakistan series as well. Priyanjan, Kithuruwan Vithanage and Angelo Perera all have the talent to play in the eleven, but we still haven't decided on the composition.

"It's pretty straight forward, there won't be too many changes, we still believe in our best eleven regardless of the weather."

Sri Lanka boasts of one of the most aggressive opening pairs in Kusal Perera and Tillakaratne Dilshan. Over the last three years, the duo has been the most brisk of Sri Lankan opening pairs, and Mathews doesn't want anything different.

"No one has asked him [Kusal Perera] to change the way he plays," Mathews said. "He will continue the same way he plays, simple as that. Both openers are aggressive, that's the sort of openers we want. We have got a more stable No. 3 as well in Kumar Sangakkara, to control things. We can't really ask our openers to change their style. That's the way they have been playing up to now."

Dilshan struck centuries in two of the three ODIs against Bangladesh last year, but has tapered off recently, having made just one fifty against Pakistan. He was also quiet in the two Twenty20s, so there will be expectations resting on him. As would they be on the entire team, especially due to their dominance over the hosts in all formats over the years.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

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