Tharanga ton as Sri Lanka ease home
Bangladesh 220 for 6 (Shahriar Nafees 51, Habibul Bashar 41*, Dilshan 3-17) lost to Sri Lanka 295 for 5 (Tharanga 105, Atapattu 53, Jayasuriya 40) by 75 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Upul Tharanga grasped a prime opportunity to stake a long-term claim for a regular position in Sri Lanka's top order with a fine 105 against Bangladesh at a depressingly empty Premadasa International Stadium. Tharanga laid the foundation for an imposing total and then Tillakaratne Dilshan starred with the ball as Sri Lanka cruised to a series-clinching 75-run victory.
Young contenders dream of being given a chance against such threadbare bowling attacks, but the trick is to cash-in, which Tharanga has now done twice in successive matches. Once again, he was the fortunate beneficiary of some sloppy Bangladesh catching, as Manjural Islam Rana grassed a regulation slip chance when he was on just 13, but he also batted impressively with a composure and focus that hinted at a real future.
Bangladesh will certainly have grown sick of him after a string of scores that reads 104 (for Sri Lanka President's XI), 60 and 105. Sanath Jayasuriya is rarely overshadowed with the bat, but Tharanga outscored him early-on, racing to his fifty off just 44 balls, driving beautifully through the covers. Sri Lanka piled on the runs in the first five-over power play, adding 51 runs to reach the 15-over mark with 100 runs already in the bank.
Bangladesh badly missed their key strike bowler Mashrafe Mortaza, who has been struggling with back spasms, although Syed Rasel, a left-armer, bowled steadily for the second consecutive match. But the visitors, thanks mainly to their spin twins, Mohammad Rafique (2 for 47) and Manjural Islam Rana (2 for 37), did still manage to disrupt the run fest during the middle overs after Jayasuriya flashed a catch to Khaled Mashud behind the stumps having made 40 from 45 balls.
Sri Lanka's surprise decision to promote Dilshan to the No. 3 slot, ahead of in-form batsmen and potential pinch-hitters, backfired badly as the momentum of the innings was checked. Moreover, his shaky confidence will have not been buoyed by a laboured 27 from 59 balls. Sri Lanka, who before the game had stressed a desire to capitalise on the fielding restrictions, wasted the second power play, scoring just 19 runs between the 15th and 20th over.
Tharanga also slowed after reaching his fifty and the innings only perked up after the arrival of Marvan Atapattu, who batted fluently for his 53 from 43 balls and raised the tempo with Kumar Sangakkara (28) and Mahela Jayawardene (24 from 18 balls) in the final overs.
Realistically, Bangladesh's task was hopeless. No side has successfully chased such a large total at Premadasa, Sri Lanka's one-day home, and their innings was all about salvaging some respect after a dismal performance in the opening game that had left the coach having stern-faced one-to-one post mortems late into Wednesday night.
And Dav Whatmore's sessions appeared to have worked as the top order showed a far higher level of application. Shahriar Nafees was especially impressive with his gritty 51 from 83 balls, once again displaying the swagger of someone capable of cutting it at the top level. His efforts were supported by Mohammad Ashraful (31), Habibul Bashar (41 not out) and Tushar Imran (31).
But Bangladesh were always well behind the pace and when, belatedly, they did try and step on the gas, Dilshan snapped up three scalps with his useful off breaks.
Earlier, Bangladesh bolstered their seam attack, dropping Khaled Mahmud who was substituted after just first overs at the SSC and calling up Nazmul Hossain. Sri Lanka also made a change, resting Farveez Maharoof as a precautionary measure because of his recent hamstring tweak and including Dilhara Lokuhettige.
How they were out
Sanath Jayasuriya c Mashud b Hossain 40 (100 for 1)
Tried to flash short ball over point
Tillakaratne Dilshan c Omar b Rafique 27 (171 for 2)
Holed out at long-off
Upul Tharanga st Mashud b Rana 105 (194 for 3)
Charged down the pitch and missed
Kumar Sangakkara c Rana b Rafique 28 (245 for 4)
Deceived in the air and caught at mid-wicket
Dilhara Lokuhettige lbw b Rasel 2 (252 for 5)
Misses ugly smear to leg
Javed Omar c Atapattu b Vaas 18 (38 for 1)
Deceived by slower ball and chipped to mid-on
Aftab Ahmed b Muralitharan 18 (77 for 2)
Bowled leg stump while trying to cut big offbreak
Shariar Nafees c Muralitharan b Dilshan 51 (122 for 3)
Skied to mid-wicket
Mohammed Rafique c & b Dilshan 9 (137 for 4)
Spooned back simple catch
Mohammed Ashraful b Dilshan 31 (140 for 5)
Top edged sweep to short fine leg
Tushar Imran b Lokuhettige 31 (211 for 6)
Chopped on while tying to drive
Charlie Austin is Cricinfo's Sri Lankan correspondent