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The Report by Mohammad Isam in Mirpur
February 20, 2014
Sri Lanka 289 for 6 (Sangakkara 128, Priyanjan 60, Mathews 56*) beat Bangladesh 228 (Anamul 42, Mushfiqur 79) by 61 runs
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Kumar Sangakkara's 17th ODI hundred was everything Sri Lanka needed to win the ODI series with a game in hand. But since their opponents were always going to pose a threat to their 289-run total, they also needed Bangladesh's batsmen to come up with a string of needless dismissals to ensure the 2-0 win.
Having gone down by 61 runs in Mirpur, Bangladesh lost their first bilateral ODI series at home since December 2011. Since then, they have beaten West Indies 3-2 and New Zealand 3-0. Bangladesh's personnel hasn't changed much since those triumphs, but there was a marked difference in their approach, in this series, to the simplest tasks on the field.
Sachithra Senanayake, Lasith Malinga, Thisara Perera and Ajantha Mendis took two wickets each, but the Sri Lankan bowlers merely had to bowl a good length, sometimes fuller, and the fielders grab the catches. The real work was done by the home batsmen.
Shamsur Rahman dabbed at a wide one to be caught spectacularly at second slip in the first over, before Anamul Haque and Mominul Haque added 55 runs for the second wicket. That partnership ended when Mominul was brilliantly caught behind by Sangakkara, his most sublime work of the day, even surpassing his century. Anamul had attacked Malinga during his 46-ball 42, but his innings ended when he was lbw to an incoming delivery from Thisara Perera in the 14th over.
What should have been the most mature period of play actually turned out to be just the opposite. Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan swung at everything within their reach. Mushfiqur swung Perera off his hips to pick up a six and followed it up with two fours in the same over. Kithuruwan Vithanage then dropped Shakib, a difficult chance at midwicket.
Shakib continued hitting out, slogging Mathews for a six and two more boundaries down the ground off successive deliveries before holing out to Ashan Priyanjan's off-spin, caught at long-off. It was an ugly shot, completely unbecoming of a batsman who had just become the country's highest run-scorer in ODIs.
Mushfiqur then called for a single, but sent Mahmudullah back halfway through his run; he was easily run out at the bowler's end. Nasir Hossain hung around for a while before holing out at deep square-leg, ending Bangladesh's hopes at 153 for 5. Mushfiqur moved to 79 but there was no one left at the other end for a proper tilt at the chase.
Bangladesh had another bad day as a fielding unit too. Nasir Hossain put down a tough chance off Priyanjan at deep midwicket when the batsman was on 2. Sri Lanka were 67 for 3 at that point. Mahmudullah dropped a dolly off an Angelo Mathews scoop when he was on 39, at short fine-leg. Mominul Haque, safe as house at other times, dropped Vithanage twice, once at deep midwicket and once in the covers, the second chance a regulation one.
It was Priyanjan and Sangakkara who hauled the visitors out of trouble. Sangakkara in particular was brilliant in picking the right balls to find boundaries but got things ticking with well-timed ones and twos. They added 114 in 24 overs, both striking some sublime boundaries.
After Priyanjan's dismissal, Sangakkara and Mathews swelled the total with an 83-run stand in less than ten overs with the big hits coming from the captain's bat. Sangakkara upped the run-rate with some timely boundaries, and Kusal Perera and Dinesh Chandimal might have learned a lot from watching how he paced his innings.
Perera was the first to go, giving Shamsur Rahman an easy catch at backward point in Rubel Hossain's first over. Tillekaratne Dilshan continued to struggle, getting out to the same bowler after a top-edged hoick went into mid-off's hands rather than over midwicket as intended. Dinesh Chandimal soon joined the openers in the dressing room, offering a simple catch to Shamsur at short midwicket. Sohag Gazi made the ball dip on him, but it wasn't an unplayable delivery. The visitors had slipped to an uncomfortable position by the end of the first hour.
It could have been worse for the visitors but for Hossain dropping Priyanjan, the ball slipping out as he dived after running from deep midwicket. It took Priyanjan a while to get going, and it fell to Sangakkara to get the scoreboard moving.
Priyanjan was out for 60 off 97 balls with seven fours. Mathews then came in and smashed six fours and a six in his unbeaten 39-ball 56, to help Sri Lanka get to what, on this pitch, was a large total.
Bangladesh's bowling was expensive, with Rubel picking up three for 76 and only Shakib exerting any control. But it was the batsmen who fell in a heap, bettering each other's mode of dismissal with shots that hardly looked in tune with the situation.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Mohammad Isam
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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