Sri Lanka cruise to victory
Watched by a couple of hundred school children and a few die-hard supporters, who entertained themselves with a gentle sing-song in the lower decks of the Sinhalese Sports Club pavilion, Sri Lanka cruised to an easy 88-run win against Bangladesh in the first encounter of what promises to be an entirely forgettable, and one-sided, three-match series.
The hosts, full of confidence after their Indian Oil Cup victory, set Bangladesh a stiff 270-run target after being asked to bat first. Upul Tharanga top-scored with 60, his maiden ODI fifty and Marvan Atapattu glued the innings together with a watchful 55. Mahela Jayawardene finished off the innings strongly, despite the clatter of late wickets, with a delightful 50 from just 35 balls.
Bangladesh - failing to build on the confidence gained from their giant-killing heroics in England - wilted early, with only Shariar Nafees providing any substantial resistance, scoring 39 from 59 balls to partially atone himself for three dropped catches earlier in the day. The rest of the top order failed as Dilhara Fernando (2 for 29) and Farveez Maharoof (3-29) shared five wickets.
Javed Omar made a belligerent start, cracking three boundaries, but was then run out by a direct hit from Russel Arnold, who lurked at backward point. After a 28-run stand, Fernando, brought into the attack after an expensive new-ball burst from Maharoof, found Tushar Imran's outside edge with a peach of a leg-cutter and then deceived Mohammad Ashraful with a slower ball that collected snow before being nonchalantly pouched by Atapattu at mid on.
Tillakaratne Dilshan, fast becoming a reliable regular bowler for Sri Lanka in home conditions, ended Nafees's resistance with a brilliant diving return catch and Upul Chandana - Sri Lanka's super sub replacement for Sanath Jayasuriya who was hauled off to protect his shoulder - fortuitously trapped Habibul Bashar lbw with a delivery that would probably have missed off stump.
Reduced to 84 for 5, Bangladesh quickly slumped to 103 for 8 after Farveez Maharoof returned for a second spell and mopped up the wickets of Aftab Ahmed, Manjural Islam and Mohammad Rafique. Khaled Mashud scored a typically gritty 39 from 82 balls, frustrating the Sri Lankans in an unbroken last-wicket partnership with Tapash Baisya that lasted for 50 minutes and produced 54 runs.
Earlier, Sri Lanka made a breezy start to the innings with Jayasuriya (25) and Tharanga regularly puncturing the infield with some stylish strokes. Runs flowed freely, despite some gentle swing from Bangladesh's new ball bowlers, Syed Rasel, the debutant, and Tapash Baisya, and a 50-run partnership was brought up in the eighth over of the innings.
Bangladesh did not help their cause with some sloppy fielding - which continued throughout the innings - as Tharanga was dropped at second slip by Nafees on eight. Shortly after, a sharp stop at backward point had left Tharanga stranded mid-pitch, but Bangladesh failed missed their chance.
But Bangladesh were spared a full Jayasuriya onslaught, as Baisya curved an inswinger through the gate in the ninth over. They grabbed at the opportunity to use the first of their two power plays as Marvan Atapattu played himself in carefully. In the end, thanks to some tight bowling and watchful batting, they also played the second power play immediately and ended up conceding just 37 runs from the 10-over spell.
Although the run rate slowed, Nafees dropped his second catch at a slip off Atapattu on four - a relatively straightforward chance, low to his right. Sri Lanka raised the tempo slightly between the 20th and 30th overs, scoring at nearly five-per-over. Tharanga was also given another let-off, this time at backward point by Mohammad Ashraful, soon after he reached his maiden ODI fifty. Bangladesh eventually opted to use their super sub, Manjural Islam Rana in the 27th over, but it was Aftab Ahmed who broke through next with his gentle medium-pace, which wobbled past Tharanga's driving blade to clip the off stump (127 for 2). The breakthrough ended a watchful 76 run stand in 114 balls with Atapattu.
Atapattu and Sangakkara sailed along smoothly enough for the next few overs, clicking up 51 in 60 balls, to leave Sri Lanka well-paced for the final slog overs. But Bangladesh checked their progress with a quick flurry of wickets after Sangakkara miscued a slog sweep and was caught at mid on (178 for 3).
Atapattu's innings was ended when he danced down the pitch and tried to loft inside-out and then Russel Arnold (12) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (one) both fell in quick succession. Fortunately, for Sri Lanka, Jawawardene was in an impish mood, skilfully picking out the gaps with some innovative strokes.
Sanath Jayasuriya b Baisya 25 (51 for 1)
Bowled by inswinger while try to loft to leg
Upul Tharanga b Ahmed 60 (127 for 2)
Missed straight ball while trying to drive
Kumar Sangakkara c Nafees b Ahmed 22 (178 for 3)
Caught at mid on off miscued slog sweep
Marvan Atapattu c Omar b Rafique 55 (186 for 4)
Caught at deep cover
Russel Arnold run out 12 (227 for 5)
Yards short after mix-up with Jayawardene
Tillakaratne Dilshan c Rasel b Rana 1 (230 for 6)
Top edged sweep to short fine leg
Chaminda Vaas c Nafees b Rasel 16 (267 for 7)
Caught at long on trying to hit six
Muttiah Muralitharan c Rafique b Rasel 0 (268 for 8)
Skied attempted leg-side heave
Mahela Jayawardene run out 50 (269 for 9)
Gambled on suicidal second off last ball
Javed Omar run out 14 (17 for 1)
Millimetres short after direct hit from Arnold
Tushar Imran c Sangakkara b Fernando 6 (41 for 2)
Nibbled at perfect leg-cutter
Mohammad Ashraful c Atapattu b Fernando 4 (51 for 3)
Skied slower ball with almighty heave
Shariar Nafees c & b Dilshan 39 (84 for 4)
Brilliant diving catch off mistimed drive
Habibul Bashar lbw Chandana 14 (84 for 5)
Unlucky to be given out sweeping to ball missing off
Aftab Ahmed b Maharoof 2 (88 for 6)
Chopped short delivery onto stumps
Manjural Islam c Jayawardene b Maharoof 5 (94 for 7)
Slashed catch to second slip
Mohammad Rafique c Muralitharan b Maharoof 10 (103 for 8)
Spooned up dolly to mid off
Charlie Austin is Cricinfo's Sri Lankan correspondent