Sri Lanka canter to five-wicket win
Sri Lanka cantered to a five-wicket win after they had bundled out Bangladesh for a meagre total in the first ODI of the three-match series at the Bogra District Stadium. Despite the drama at the end created by a flurry of Sri Lankan wickets the contest was utterly one-sided. The damage was done right at the start as the Bangladesh batsmen were undone by the new ball.
The Sri Lankan bowlers were helped along by some rash batting as the batsmen flashed at swinging balls, ran down the track, swished, and slogged their way to disaster. With Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan rested for the series, the onus was on the new-ball operators - Ruchira Perera and Farveez Maharoof - to strike. And strike they did, in style. The tall Maharoof, settled into a nice off-stump line, hit the good length repeatedly, and kept the batsmen guessing by cutting the ball both ways. Perera created a stranglehold by swinging the ball back into the right-hand batsmen and at times making it go with the angle.
Shariar Nafees was first to go, swishing at a full, swinging ball outside off. His partner Rajin Saleh, who started off with a sumptuous cover-driven four, subsequently went into a shell. His defensive mindset was reflected in his footwork: neither stretching fully forward nor back he chose to play from the crease. He succumbed soon to Maharoof, trapped in front to a ball that cut back in.
Maharoof didn't have to work too hard for his next wicket, either. Mohammad Ashraful, the hero of that famous win over Australia, perished going for a wild swing. He had walked in amidst huge cheering and walked out leaving a packed stadium very silent. Aftab Ahmad, who had earlier nonchalantly flicked Maharoof over long-leg for a lovely six, fell in a moment of indiscretion. After creaming a full and slightly wide one from Perera over cover for a one-bounce four, he ran down the track and attempted a wild slog, only to be cleaned up. Perera removed Khaled Mashud with one that angled away and the resultant edge was smartly pouched by a diving Kumar Sangakkara.
It was left to a man playing his last match to engineer a fightback for Bangladesh; Khaled Mahmud, a veteran of 77 ODIs, chose to sign off in style. After seeing off the new ball he began to build the momentum. Dilhara Fernando, who induced Habibul Bashar, the captain, to edge behind, was pulled for a stunning six and then slashed for a four. Hasantha Fernando, the debutant, was driven for two fours. Unfortunately for him and his side, he kept losing his partners. Bashar fell, edging to slip off Dilhara, and Mohammad Rafique was bounced out by the same bowler. Finally Mahmud also fell, trapped by Sanath Jayasuriya, as he missed an attempted sweep and left to a standing ovation. Alok Kapali, the allrounder, making a comeback, came to bat at No. 9 and was left stranded as the tail folded.
The Bangladesh bowlers tried gamely - Syed Rasel beat Jehan Mubarak with one that dipped in late and Mashrafe Mortaza got Jayasuriya to drag one back to the stumps - to cheer the full house, but 118 was never going to be enough. A dropped catch in the 14th over added to the host's misery. Rasel induced an edge from Sangakkara but Khaled Mashud, the wicketkeeper, spilt a sitter. And that seemed to spur Sangakkara as he took charge and almost - he fell, miscuing a drive, just nine short of the target - saw the game through.
Mubarak b Syed Rasel 4 (1 for 11)
Beaten by one that dipped in late
Sanath Jayasuriya b Mashrafe Mortaza 13 (2 for 41)
Dragged a delivery from outside off stump
Kumar Sangakkara c Mortaza b Alok Kapali 50 (3 for 111)
Holed out to long-off
Kapugedara c Kapali b Mohammad Rafique 0 (4 for 111)
Chipped straight to mid-on
Tillakaratne Dilshan b Rafique 2 (5 for 117)
Dragged one back to stumps
Shahriar Nafees c Kumar Sangakkara b Farveez Maharoof 7 ( 1 for 5)
A wild swish outside off
Aftab Ahmed b Ruchira Perera 21 (2 for 31)
Ran down the track and went for a wild slog
Rajin Saleh lbw Maharoof 7 (3 for 25) Prodded from the crease, a nip-backer trapped him in front
Mohammad Ashraful c Sangakkara b Maharoof 4 (4 for 36)
Chased a full swinging delivery
Khaled Mashud c Sangakkara b Perera 0 (5 for 37)
Edged one that was angled away
Habibul Bashar c Jayawarden b Dilhara Fernando 2 (6 for 51)
Pushed hard at a good length delivery
Mohammad Rafique c Jayasuriya b Dilhara Fernando 6 (7 for 82)
Attempted to swat a bouncer, lobbed up to covers
Khaled Mahmud lbw Jayasuriya 36 ( 8 for 98)
Missed an attempted sweep
Mashrafe Mortaza b Perera 6 (9 for 109)
Squared up by the one that went with the angle
Syed Rasel c Perera b Jayasuriya 7 (10 for 116)
Holed out to deep midwicket
Sriram Veera is editorial assistant of Cricinfo