Sri Lanka fightback impresses coach
Paul Farbrace, the Sri Lanka coach, was impressed with his team's ability to maintain emotional equilibrium that helped them edge past a belligerent Bangladesh team in a see-saw contest in Mirpur. Twice, on Monday, Sri Lanka fought back from difficult positions and ended up with a 13-run win in the first ODI.
"A lot of time is spent on talking about holding nerves," Farbrace said. "You should not get too excited when you're doing well, and don't get too down when you are not going well. You also need a bit of luck to go your way. There are small margins in international cricket."
Sri Lanka first staged a comeback, mainly through Thisara Perera's big hitting, from a wobbly 67 for 8. And then when Bangladesh had been on cruise control at 114 for two, their bowlers picked up the last eight wickets for only 53 runs.
"The great thing was that from 100-odd for two, I was very impressed how the boys fought, stuck at it, caught well and were disciplined in their bowling," Farbrace said. "The pressure forced the victory. There's quality in our batting too and it is not a time to panic. The boys are working hard in every session. We can ask the players to work as hard they can and if they don't, then you get tough on them."
Perera survived three dropped catches while Sachithra Senanayake, with whom he added 82 for the ninth wicket, was dropped once. Later, Shamsur Rahman suffered a freakish run-out, which turned the tide Sri Lanka's way.
But still, there were concerns about batting, especially after collapses in two consecutive matches. Farbrace, though, was unconcerned about the lack of runs from Sri Lanka's batsmen, and Dinesh Chandimal in particular. Chandimal scored a Test century but has now had three failures in a row.
"He [Dinesh Chandimal] showed glimpses of striking the ball well," Farbrace said. "He got a hundred in a Test match four innings ago. He scored five boundaries in that innings, which shows he is maturing as a player.
"He knocked the ball around and his partnership with Sangakkara got us in a position from where we couldn't lose a Test match."
Farbrace said the young batsmen, especially those who have to replace legendary names and careers, need a bit of time in international cricket to adjust their games to the team's needs.
"It is a bit like when Murali and Vaas were no longer in the bowling attack," he said. "It takes a while for the younger players. The previous coach Graham Ford said that all the time Mahela and Kumar Sangakkara are batting at 3 and 4, the likes of Chandimal and Mathews are batting at 5 and 6. Batting at 3-4 and 5-6 are different, you need time to adjust.
"They are intelligent lads. Kithuruwan Vithanage took the chance and scored a hundred in Dhaka. You have to give people time. Young guys don't become Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara overnight. You will never find another Murali, Vaas or Sanath. Young players take time to learn pressure of international cricket."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here