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February 19, 2014
Sachithra Senanayake's two wickets in the first ODI against Bangladesh broke a run of five wicketless matches for him, all played against Pakistan in the UAE two months ago. But Sri Lanka are aware of his value as a spinner and a lower-order batsman, and have persisted with him despite other options.
Senanayake was picked as the specialist spinner ahead of Ajantha Mendis, and proved his worth with the wickets of Nasir Hossain and Mahmudullah in the same over as Bangladesh slipped from 133 for 4 to 133 for 6 in the 29th over. He was also effective earlier in the game with the bat, helping Thisara Perera add 82 runs for the ninth wicket after Sri Lanka had slumped to 67 for 8.
"We have to handle the pressure," Senanayake said. "Pitches here are really nice so we can bat through. If I get a chance, my mission is to bat till the last over. I feel I am lucky to be there in the end. We do basic things with Marvan Atapattu. He wants the bowlers to bat every day. I think because of that the bowlers are batting really well."
Senanayake had recently batted Sri Lanka to a win against Pakistan. With four runs required off five balls, he took a couple off Shahid Afridi before crashing the ball to the point boundary.
There may have been a dearth of wickets, but Senanayake has concentrated on the basics. He attributed it to his mental strength. "I think I am a cool guy. I don't take pressure," he said.
"There isn't any competition. If captain and coaches want to go with me, I am satisfied. It is not a big issue for me. If Ajantha [Mendis] is doing well, he should play."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Mohammad Isam
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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