'Absolutely terrific' Thisara delivers again
In early January, Sri Lanka's chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya recommended that Thisara Perera be denied the no-objection certificate for the Big Bash League. A month later, Thisara became Sri Lanka's saviour in the first ODI after having already played a pivotal role in the 2-0 win in the preceding Twenty20 series.
In the intervening time, he worked overtime in the nets back in Colombo and played two first-class matches for Colts. He believes the extra training helped him turn around his form, after he made only 13 runs in three ODIs against Pakistan in the UAE.
"After the UAE tour, I had one-month period for training session," Thisara said. "I worked hard with supporting staff in Sri Lanka. It was really helpful for me."
Jayasuriya was adamant that a stint in Australia playing Twenty20s would not help him progress as an allrounder, having used a similar treatment to rouse him out of a slump previously. "We are not giving him permission to play in the Big Bash. He has to work and stay in Sri Lanka," Jayasuriya had said. "The reason is poor form. He's been in very poor form with his bowling and batting. He needs to work on some things with the coaches in Sri Lanka."
Bangladesh now know how helpful the rap had been for Thisara, and how effective his confidence can be for Sri Lanka. From 67 for 8, he rescued Sri Lanka with an unbeaten 80 off 57 balls, which is the third-highest by a batsman at No. 9, and is only the second by a Sri Lankan after Guy de Alwis.
But match-winning rescue acts are not new to Thisara. His unbeaten 36 here in Mirpur four years ago was the first instance when his last-ditch hitting helped Sri Lanka to a win. Against South Africa in early 2012, his unbeaten 69 helped his side to a famous win. There have been a 21 not out and a 19 not out against Australia in 2012 and 2013, as well as the unbeaten 35 against Bangladesh in the second T20 in Chittagong last week.
Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews called Thisara's innings "absolutely brilliant" and praised his all-round abilities. "He is one of the best allrounders that we have. He has been winning us matches in the past few years with bat and ball, he is matured. He did it in the T20s in Chittagong, and he has improved quite rapidly. Hopefully he will continue to do the same thing in the future.
'The way he batted was absolutely brilliant. When Thisara and Sachithra were batting, I thought we should get to at least 150 to give the bowlers some sort of chance. He is matured now, he has been winning games with bat and ball."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here