'Kusal showed maturity today' - Mathews
Kusal Perera's well-paced maiden ODI century helped Sri Lanka clinch the ODI series 3-0 and Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews said the opener had shown maturity to set up the win in the absence of the team's senior players.
"Kusal Perera showed lot of maturity today," Mathews said. "We didn't have senior guys and someone had to step up. I am glad that he and Dinesh Chadimal did. He doesn't change his game, at any point. We have always told him to believe in himself and he batted brilliantly.
"We never say anything to any of our batters unless it is absolutely needed. We always told him [Perera] to enjoy and bat the way he does because if he gets the start, he will win more games for us."
The opener began quietly but opened up with a four and two sixes. However, he did not hit a boundary between the 10th and 23rd overs when Sri Lanka needed to rebuild after quick wickets. Along with Dinesh Chandimal, Perera ensured Sri Lanka were able to control the required run rate in spite of a few quiet overs.
While his first 50 came off 80 balls, the next fifty runs took 38 balls as the batsman surpassed his previous best of 64 against Pakistan. It was also his second fifty-plus score against Bangladesh.
Sri Lanka were also helped by Suranga Lakmal, who bowled the most economical spell of his 21-match ODI career. He gave away 24 runs and took two wickets, and his use of the crease, lengths and change of pace were apt in all situations.
"Suranga [Lakmal] was brilliant today. I thought he bowled eight overs for eight runs. We didn't have Lasith Malinga so he had the burden of bowling well and he did exactly that," Mathews said. "I am very pleased with the way he bowled today, as well as Dinesh Chandimal who ran into good form today."
According to Mathews, Sri Lanka's rally from 67 for 8 to an eventually match-winning total of 180 in the first ODI was the turning point of the series.
"We had the fighting spirit," Mathews said. "When we were 67 for 8, most of you guys would have thought we would have given up the game but we hung in there.
"Thisara [Perera] played a really good knock and from there onwards it was just going on. We always believed in ourselves, believed in our team spirit. We never give up. We are really pleased with the guys."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here