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July 20, 2007
Even after the debacle of the first ODI, following as it did hard on the heels of the 3-0 Test whitewash, Shaun Williams, Bangladesh's coach, had refused to become despondent. "I think still there were lot of positive things for us as we dominated the match till 60 overs and our bowling was tremendous," he said.
However, the biggest question surrounding the Bangladesh team is whether, despite the obvious intent, they can avoid repeating the negatives. Throughout the summer, the batting has let them down and the first ODI had presented the same script.
Unlike in the Tests, they had made a promising start and Sri Lanka's 234 did not look too distant at 45 for 0 in 11 overs. But then came the familiar collapse as they slid to 56 for 5. The broadsheets back home in Bangladesh have not taken to it kindly. The Daily Star slammed Mohammad Ashraful's tendency to play rash strokes with a headline, 'A fatal illness!'
Ashraful had swayed away from two bouncers but top edged the third to fine leg. "Believe me I went into the middle with a mind set of avoiding the pull shots, but I made the same mistake," Ashraful said. "I am ready to accept all the blame. All the other batsmen have reasons for their dismissals but there was no excuse in my case. I can't still believe that we lost the match. What a great opportunity we spoiled."
"It was disappointing the way we lost the match because we were in a position to win it. But I don't want to criticise any individual player because the whole squad is disappointed by the outcome," said Williams. Tomorrow offers another opportunity at redemption.
However, they would take heart from the bowling performance. Mashrafe Mortaza, who had looked listless in the Tests, came back up with an improved performance and Syed Rasel strangled with a nagging line and length.
Sri Lanka do not have any such worries. "We want to have a clean sweep in the one-day series just like the Tests," Mahela Jayawardene said on the eve of the ODI series. Although without Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas they have a strong bowling lineup in Lasith Malinga, Dilhara Fernando and Farvez Maharoof. The batting, with the return of Sanath Jayasuriya, looks formidable and Jayawardene will be looking to seal the series tomorrow.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Pataudi Jr caught a young English fan's fancy for his princely ways and his heroic batting