Sri Lanka wrap series with five-wicket win
The three-match one-day series followed a predictable script as Sri Lanka wrapped up the second ODI and the series at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo with a five-wicket win. The victory was fashioned by a ruthless bowling performance, starting with Lasith Malinga's incisive opening burst, followed by Sanath Jayasuriya's finishing touches, restricting Bangladesh to 137, a score few teams can realistically defend.
Under overcast skies, the Bangladesh batting imploded for the second game in succession. It was a good toss to win for Mahela Jayawardene as the seamers uitilised the damp pitch and overcast conditions to repeat their demolition of the top order. With their backs to the wall in terms of the series, the start was hardly auspicious as the openers failed to lay the groundwork, failing to adapt to the ball swinging in both directions and kicking off a good length.
Malinga prised out both openers in quick succession, varying his length in both dismissals. Shahriar Nafees's patience ran out when he attempted a cheeky glance down to third man off a good length delivery outside off stump, resulting in an edge which was taken comfortably by Jayawardene at second slip.
Tamim Iqbal was subdued for 16 deliveries for his three and was dismissed while playing all around a Malinga yorker, beaten for pace. The strategy of promoting Mushfiqur Rahim up the order didn't pay off as his stint lasted a mere four deliveries. A victim of another rude wake up call by Malinga, Rahim was caught off guard by one that kicked on him just short of a good length and a big outside edge was snapped up acrobatically by Kumar Sangakkara to his right.
The second Powerplay produced just six runs, as the batsmen failed to get the ball past the infield and the runs came at a crawl. The miserly Maharoof gave no freebies in his opening spell - conceding just 11 runs off eight overs - accounting for Tushar Imran.
Aftab Ahmed and Mohammad Ashraful dropped anchor and added 61 after Bangladesh had tottered to 26 for 4 in the 15th over. Aftab's knock of 47 was one completely out of character given his propensity to attack from the word 'go'. When Ashraful departed for 29, Aftab and Shakib Al Hasan seemed to get another partnership going, pushing the singles with regularity once the spinners came on.
However, indiscretion on Shakib's part brought Sri Lanka back in business as he was bowled by Malinga Bandara while attempting a slog sweep. Aftab squandered an opportunity to get a fifty when he pulled straight to midwicket, giving Jayasuriya his second scalp.
By then, Bangladesh hardly looked like crossing 150 and the nature of the dismissals that followed was just a sad reflection of an innings which had little entertainment value. A run-out, followed by desperate lofts straight down fielders' throats ended the innings in the 47th over. Jayasuriya reached a personal milestone when he wrapped up the tail, reaching 300 ODI wickets.
Chasing a modest 138, Jayasuriya and Upul Tharanga were off in a rush, adding 43 for the first wicket and it was wayward fare from the Bangladesh seamers which contributed to the racy start. Syed Rasel and Shahadat Hossain failed to land the ball on a good length roundabout the off stump unlike their Sri Lankan counterparts and instead sprayed it wide and too full.
Fielders patrolling point and cover were given an early work-out as Tharanga drove and cut with privilege and freedom. Shahadat wasn't spared in one over in which he conceded three consecutive boundaries off Tharanga's blade, all square of the wicket in the off side. However, he was rewarded the minute he landed the ball on the right length - short on off stump - forcing Tharanga on the backfoot and getting it to slant across the left hander with a faint edge going through to Rahim.
Jayasuriya meanwhile took on Rasel and lofted him for successive boundaries, down to long-off and long-on respectively, and the target seemed one mighty blow away. Rasel then had his moment, albeit controversially, when he beat Sangakkara's bat with a full delivery outside off and the look on Sangakkara's face suggested that he wasn't too pleased.
Bangladesh's spirits rose again after a double strike sent back Jayasuriya and Jayawardene. Bowling short and wide, left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak bowled to his field and got Jayasuriya to slash hard outside the off stump straight to point. Agile catching at midwicket by Aftab sent back Jayawardene and for a change, the heat was on Sri Lanka.
After a few quiet overs - Tillekaratne Dilshan was scoreless for 16 balls - Chamara Silva cut loose. He lashed two boundaries off medium pacer Farhad Reza, including a fierce slash over backward point and waltzed down the track to Razzak. The sparse crowd in the high-capacity stadium turned vocal as Sri Lanka strolled home with 113 balls to spare.
Kanishkaa Balachandran is an editorial assistant on Cricinfo